According to a European study of 6,693 breast cancer patients, it is safe to trust genetic testing when it conflicts with results from traditional testing. In some cases, the genetic test may suggest that there is a low risk of the cancer spreading while other tests say the risk is high. The study indicated that in such scenarios, women were just as likely to survive for five years compared to those who had chemotherapy.
This may be partially because traditional tests look for a variety of general factors such as whether a patient is over the age of 50. It is believed that an increased trust in the results of genetic testing could allow up to 35,000 Americans with early breast cancer to avoid chemotherapy. This may prevent unnecessary emotional trauma and keep costs of treatment to reasonable levels.
However, not everyone who has heard the news is convinced. A doctor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute pointed out that those who chose chemotherapy had a 1.5 percent greater chance of staying alive. Furthermore, there was a 1.9 greater chance that the cancer wouldn’t spread to the bones, brain or liver. It was pointed out that those odds may be meaningful for some patients regardless of how minor they may seem.
If a doctor misreads test results, that may be considered malpractice. An attorney might be able to establish that the doctor acted in a negligent manner when recommending treatment based on an incorrect interpretation of available data. If successful, patients may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and future earnings. They may also be entitled to punitive damages depending on the severity of the doctor’s negligence.