Sunday, January 29, 2012

Its just a sunburn - hah!


I am not sure why this article is so upsetting. Basically this woman in England was told for five months that she had a sunburn and it turned out she had inflammatory breast cancer - a very aggressive type of breast cancer with a 5 year survival rate of just 40%. I can't believe on how many levels this is so wrong. She had chemo and then a bilateral mastectomy and now it sounds like a recurrence has already happened.

To the doctors I want to say, 'you were stupid'. If your initial diagnosis isn't right, then you need to think a little harder. I can understand thinking a rash is sunburn. That is logical but if it didn't go away in a few days, then the diagnosis is wrong. I can understand thinking that a woman in her mid 30's is not a prime candidate for breast cancer and inflammatory breast cancer is very rare. But don't doctors go through the process of elimination and start with the most common diagnosis and work from there? If a sunburn doesn't go away its not a sunburn. What about a skin biopsy? What about a referral to a specialist? And please, a badly fitting bra? Get real. This is just bad medical practice if you ask me.

To the patient, I think you were right to keep pushing and questioning - it is your body and you know when something isn't right. The internet research you did led to the truth in the end. I hope the treatment you received isn't representative of the UK National Health because I am very unimpressed with the care you received that is documented in this article..

To the hospital, please accept some of the blame here. Your statement is wrong - you don't have excellent breast service.

"A spokesman for Warrington and Halton hospitals said: ‘We have an excellent breast service at the hospitals that provides a first-class screening and diagnostic service and aims to ensure that care is provided as quickly as possible when a positive diagnosis is made. 

‘We have met Mrs O’Neill and are pleased that her treatment is progressing well. We will be responding in full to the concerns she has raised about her treatment and looking at the steps that we took at the hospitals and if anything could have been done differently.’"

I certainly hope you will take review the process of diagnosis and treatment. By the way from the article it sounds like she has already had a recurrence. How can you be pleased?

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