WASHINGTON--Breast cancer leads the list of diseases for which malpractice claims have been filed in the last decade, according to a study from the Physician Insurers Association of America. Of 117,000 claims filed since 1985, about 2,500 involved breast cancer.
The association stressed that this number is small compared with the estimated 1.5 million women who received a breast cancer diagnosis during that period.
In an analysis of 487 delay in diagnosis claims, the average delay was 14 months; 91% of these patients were under age 50. Although 60% of these women found a lump by self-examination, in 35% of cases, the "physical findings failed to impress the physician," the study said, and this was the most common reason for delay. The second leading cause was failure to follow up on physical exams and inconclusive mammograms.