[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
January 16, 1987

Detection of Breast Cancer

Author Affiliations

Metairie, La

Metairie, La

JAMA. 1987;257(3):317. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390030047016

To the Editor.—  In your Sept 12, 1986, issue, Dr Vorherr1 makes several statements concerning detection of breast cancer that I believe are erroneous.In his letter, he states that "physicians already order mammograms liberally or excessively because of fears of overlooking carcinoma and facing possible litigation." In fact, the opposite is true. A recurrent theme in medical negligence cases concerning failure to diagnose breast cancer is that of failure to order mammography at appropriate or suggested intervals.2Dr Vorherr also claims that breast aspiration is "capable of reliably diagnosing cancer" and encourages performing this procedure. In fact, there is considerable debate as to the accuracy of this procedure. A Massachusetts court recently ruled in favor of a woman who successfully sued her primary care physician even though the physician had relied on a negative needle biopsy of a breast lump, later discovered to be malignant.3 If