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Injuries before and after diagnosis of cancer: nationwide register based study

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i4218 (Published 31 August 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4218

Rapid Response:

Frequent errors in cancer diagnosis

False positive breast cancer results after 10 years of mammography screening range from 33%-50% of women. [1][2][3][4][5]

All consequent anxiety, depression, suicides, attempted suicides, risky behaviours, injuries, biopsies, mastectomies, irradiation, chemotherapies, lymphadenectomies, morbidity, mortality should be considered as iatrogenic, and calculated in National medical error statistics.

Thus, from only a small part of my Specialist field, up to 50% of the population of women can be jeopardized by medical errors.

Even attempting to obtain combinations of first and second opinion on breast cancer pathology slides from expert pathologists with a high volume of diagnostic work, results in mistakes in 10.9% to 18.0% of patients. [7]

Evidently, all medical Specialties combined, greatly increases risks of over-treatment and preventable morbidity/mortality. [6]

References
[1] http://www.cochrane.org/CD001877/BREASTCA_screening-for-breast-cancer-wi...
[2] http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)61216-1/fulltext
[3] http://www.bmj.com/content/339/bmj.b2587
[4] http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/hp/breast-screening-pdq
[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A9xuLmUHcQ
[6] http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139
[7] http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i3069

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 September 2016
Stavros Saripanidis
Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Thessaloniki, Greece