Some forms of cancer are more common than others. While this is frightening in one way, it may be comforting in another in that it means that medical professionals should know how to more accurately diagnose and treat those more common forms, thereby leading to positive outcomes.

Unfortunately, though, this isn’t always the case. In fact, sometimes doctors fail to live up to their duty of care by failing to even administer routine tests that would lead to the detection and effective treatment of deadly diseases, including cancer.

This sometimes happens with breast cancer. There are a number of ways that breast cancer can be diagnosed. A doctor may conduct a breast exam to feel for abnormal lumps in the breast tissue and lymph nodes in a patient’s arm pits. A mammogram, which is an X-ray of the breast, can also detect abnormalities that may require additional analysis. An ultrasound can detect abnormal lumps that are found deep within the breast tissue and determine whether they are solid in nature or rather cysts filled with fluid.

But the testing doesn’t stop there. Oftentimes, the best way to detect breast cancer is by conducting a biopsy where a piece of the tissue in question is removed and examined more closely. Not only can a biopsy determine whether the tissue is cancerous in nature, but it can also allow a doctor to analyze its aggressiveness. Once this information is obtained, an appropriate course of treatment can be developed.

Of course, the effectiveness of this process essentially lies in the hands of one individual: the doctor. If he or she fails to order certain testing or inaccurately interprets test results, then a patient may be left with a condition that continues to worsen over time. This can threaten their quality of life as well as their very chance of survival. This is wholly unacceptable, which is why those harmed by medical malpractice such as a failure to diagnose breast cancer should consider taking legal action to recover compensation.