Breast cancer victim told: mammograms not foolproof
HEALTH SCARE BRAY WOMAN RAISES ISSUE FROM CONFERENCE FLOOR
A LEADING cancer specialist has told a Bray woman suffering from cancer, whos einitial mammogram was reported as normal, that a negative mammogram or breast X-ray does not necessarily rule out breast cancer.
Professor Niall O’Higgins, head of the department of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons told a conference that mammograms are not foolproof after a question from the floor from Helen Doyle, (52).
‘We have seen many cancers which are not diagnosable on a mammogram,’ he said.
He added, however, that the chances of a cancer not being picked up would be minimised if a patient was seen by a multidisciplinary team, where there would be the added information provided by other examinations.
Ms. Doyle told Prof. O’Higgins that she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in May 2007 following a mammogram the previous year which came back normal.
She said that her treatment is ongoing and that she has yet to ask for the mammogram to be reviewed. ‘I can’t understand how it could have grown from noth- ing to that size in such a short period of time,’ she said.
Christine Murphy-Whyte, chairwoman of Europa Donna Ireland, the support group organising the conference, said that the recent deaths of women mis-diagnosed, shows the urgent need to have fullyresourced specialist breast cancer centres in place.
She appealed to politicians, health professionals and women campaigning for services to be retained in their local areas to get behind the drive to establish and resource specialist centres, which she said would save the lives of 130 breast cancer patients a year.