When you go to a doctor about a medical concern, you expect to be told the truth, not given a comforting half-truth. In the case of a woman now facing the probability of premature death, however, that was apparently the mistake by her radiologist and gynecologist.

When the then-34-year-old woman found a thickening in her breast tissue in 2009 and had a mammogram and an ultrasound, they said her results were normal. In fact, the results were merely reassuring, but did not definitively exclude breast cancer as a possibility. No further monitoring was recommended.

Because she believed she had tested negative for breast cancer, she didn’t worry about the thickened tissue again until 2012, when it seemed to be getting larger and was becoming painful. She also had noticed that some of her lymph nodes were enlarged.

She went to a different gynecologist and got another round of imaging tests and a biopsy. This time, she was diagnosed by metastatic breast carcinoma with liver involvement. If the cancer had been found in 2009, her treatment might have been relatively easy. Because of the delayed diagnosis, however, her treatment options are now much more limited and expensive.

When detected early, breast cancer is between 80- and 100-percent curable, according to numbers from the Susan G. Komen website. This woman is now in Stage IV, when the survival rate averages 15 percent.

She has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, saying that the mistake by her radiologist and gynecologist in 2009 has “adversely affecting treatment options, worsening her prognosis, and diminishing her life expectancy.” She also says that the aggressive treatment she is now undergoing is both more expensive and will negatively affect her earning capacity.

She is suing the gynecologist and the radiologist, along with Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, which operated the clinic where she was treated, and its parent company, Kaiser Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic States. She is seeking $2.1 million, plus court costs and interest.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Woman Blames Kaiser for End Stage Cancer,” Barbara Wallace, Sept. 16, 2013