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Women shouldn’t be alarmed following misdiagnosis case in the NT

BCNA News 22 Nov 2016

Women shouldn’t be alarmed following misdiagnosis case in the NT

BCNA says women shouldn’t be alarmed following misdiagnosis case in the NT

The ABC and other media outlets are today reporting on a story about two women in the Northern Territory who had their breasts removed after being misdiagnosed with breast cancer at the Royal Darwin Hospital. The pathologist who made the two incorrect diagnoses has since retired.

Following this report Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has said that the situation in the Northern Territory is a rare occurrence and that women should not be alarmed.

Kathy Wells, BCNA Head of Policy, Research and Advocacy, said this is a terrible error and that BCNA hopes both women are getting the care they need following their experience.

“While this is an awful situation for these two women, our message is that women should not be alarmed. This is a very rare occurrence – in my 10 years working at Breast Cancer Network Australia I have never heard of this happening before,” Kathy said.

“Breast Cancer Network Australia encourages women diagnosed with breast cancer to ask for more information if they feel they need it. The more information you have, the better you will be able to make decisions about your health care. We also want to remind women newly diagnosed with breast cancer that they don’t need to make any fast decisions or rush into having surgery right away. It is fine to take a little time to think about what feels right for you,” Kathy said.

Breast Cancer Network Australia has created a list of practical suggestions to help women who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer:

  • Take time to think about what you need to get through right now. BCNA’s My Journey Kit can help you
  • Make sure you understand the information you are given and ask questions if there is anything you don’t understand
  • Take small steps. Breaking things down into small steps helps to keep things manageable and reduce stress
  • Consider taking a family member or close friend with you to medical appointments, so they can listen and take notes for you
  • Be kind to yourself and remember that most Australian women survive breast cancer
  • Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to let others help you and your family.

You can order a My Journey Kit free of charge.