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How breast cancer can be misdiagnosed in California

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2023 | Cancer Misdiagnosis

California breast cancer misdiagnosis can have devastating results. When breast cancer is misdiagnosed, the patient doesn’t get the needed treatment. Delays in treatment allow the cancers to progress. In addition, it’s possible to misdiagnose breast cancer because several noncancerous conditions mimic the disease.

Breast cyst

A breast cyst is a fluid-filled sac that grows inside the breast. The cyst is usually noncancerous, but there are cases in which a cyst is cancerous. Cancer misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor assumes a breast cyst is benign, although it’s cancerous. Unlike breast cancer, a breast cyst doesn’t need treatment unless it’s uncomfortable or painful.

Fibrocystic breasts

Fibrocystic breasts have fibrocystic breast tissue that feels lumpy. A doctor might feel these lumps and assume nothing is wrong because the patient has fibrocystic breasts. However, some breasts are naturally fibrocystic and some develop because of hormonal changes. Fibrocystic breasts are usually painless, but symptoms such as breast pain and tenderness can occur.

Breast changes and pregnancy

Pregnancy and breastfeeding often cause changes to the breasts. Because of these changes to the breast, it’s often challenging to detect pregnancy-related breast cancer. Although pregnancy-related breast cancer is rare, it does occur in about 1 out of every 3,000 pregnancies. In this case, a doctor might think breast cancer is a simple pregnancy-related normal breast change.


Breastfeeding can cause mastitis to develop in the breasts. Mastitis is breast swelling that develops because of an infection caused by a clogged duct or broken nipple skin. Mastitis might cause you to develop flu-like symptoms and a hard lump on the infected breast. Inflammatory breast cancer is sometimes misdiagnosed as mastitis.

Getting a second opinion

Several conditions look like breast cancer but aren’t. And these conditions can cause a doctor to miss a cancer diagnosis. A patient might seek a second opinion if there’s any concern about a misdiagnosis.