Breast Cancer Lawsuits Law Office of Joseph A. Hernandez

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If you or a family member have been diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer because a doctor or other health care provider caused a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of the cancer, you may have a medical malpractice claim.

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What is Stage 4 Breast Cancer?

A diagnosis of Stage 4 Breast Cancer means that the cancer, regardless of its size, has metastasized (spread) beyond the breast and lymph nodes to distant organs such as the bones, the brain, the lungs, or the liver.

Treatment For Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Even with advances in the treatment for breast cancer the five year survival rate for women with stage IV breast cancer is still less than twenty-five percent. At the current time, the treatments that are available include

  • Chemotherapy
    Often administered in combination with one or more of the treatment options below, chemotherapy may help slow down, stop, and possibly even reverse the spread of the cancer. There are several chemotherapy drugs currently available.
  • Hormone therapy
    Certain types of breast cancer are hormone receptor positive. The treatment depends on whether the woman is pre or post menopause.
    For women who are pre-menopausal, the doctor may use drugs (like Tamoxifen) which block the effects of estrogen (a major hormone produced by women).
    If the woman is post-menopausal, the doctor may use drugs which are aromatase inhibitors and lower the amount of estrogen the woman's body produces are prescribed for post-menopausal women. For some women, another option may be to have surgery to remove the ovaries and prevent making the hormones that the cancer needs for growth.
  • Biological therapy
    Certain types of breast cancer produce an excess of a protein called HER2. There are drugs which interfere with the function of the hormone in the growth of these types of breast cancer. These druges generally also boost the immune system and are sometimes used in combination with chemotherapy.
  • Surgery and Radiation
    Although systemic treatment is normally the main line of treatment for stage IV breast cancer, there are certain cases in which surgery and/or radiation may be appropriate.
  • Clinical trials.
    There are a number of clinical trials that are showing great promise. Hopefully one or more will yield new, better treatments in the next few years.
The treatment options recommended depend on multiple factors,including the areas of the body to which the cancer has spread, the type of breast cancer involved, and the woman's overall health.

The hope is that the treatment will stops or even reverses the growth and spread of the cancer. Unfortunately, for most women with stage IV breast cancer, the treatments eventually stop working or the cancer will return after some period of time. When this happens, the woman and her doctors need to discuss options for whether to pursue a second line of treatment.

Reasons You Might Have A Claim For Medical Malpractice

When breast cancer is diagnosed and treated while still in the early stages, before the cancer has a chance to spread, a woman with the cancer has an excellent (97 percent or greater) chance of surviving the cancer. Bu without treatment the breast cancer continues to grow and eventually spreads. This process is called metastasis. In its most advanced form,the cancer reaches distant parts of the body. This is classified as stage 4 breast cancer. Even with all the advances that have been made in the treatment of cancer, once the cancer reaches stage 4, a woman has a very poor chance (under 25 percent) of surviving the cancer.

This is why it is so important for the doctor or other health care provider to detect and treat the cancer while it is still in the early stages. The ways in which early stage breast cancer is detected include screening women without symptoms through the use of clinical breast examinations and screening mammograms, and through diagnostic tests (such as mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies) when a lump is found in the breast.

Problems and potential medical malpractice might arise when a doctor or other health care professional does not detect the cancer at an earlier (and more treatable) stage due to a

  • failure to screen for breast cancer by not performing or recommending a
    1. clinical breast examination and
    2. a mammogram;
    for women who are age appropriate or are at a high risk for cancer of the breast
  • failure to follow up on patient's complaints of a lump or other abnormal changes in the breast;
  • failure to follow up on a abnormal clinical breast examination, mammogram or biopsy; or
  • failure to recognize the presence of cancer in a mammogram, aspiration or biopsy.

A delay caused by the doctor or health care provider which allows the cancer to progress from an early stage to stage 4 can mean the difference between a treatable cancer with an excellent likelihood of survival to one which, even with treatment, has a poor likelihood of survival.

If you or a family member where diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer contact an Attorney to determine whether you may have a medical malpractice claim. The law limits the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a medical malpractice claim. You should thus contact an Attorney right away.

Law Office of Joseph A. Hernandez, P.C.
675 VFW Parkway #312
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Phone: 781-461-9400
Toll free: 866-461-9400
Please be sure to include a telephone number where we can call you for additional details.

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