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Hundreds Of Breast Cancer Retests Ordered

March 21, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging
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Depending on which source you believe, either hundreds of Quebec women may be in danger after their mammograms were misread or only three.

Quebec’s College of Physicians has almost finished rereading 15,000 mammograms conducted by radiologist Raymond Bergeron, MD.

The Toronto Sun quoted Yves Robert, MD, secretary of the college, as saying:

Hundreds of women will have to take extra tests. This doesn’t mean that there were hundreds of mistakes, but we want to be sure we didn’t miss anything.

Dr. Bergeron publicly defended himself for the first time in an interview with Canada’s QMI Agency. He said he believes he misread mammograms in only three cases.

Dr. Bergeron, 77, has retired, though he said the mammography scandal had nothing to do with that decision. He told QMI, “A breast is not like a crystal ball. You can’t see through it. You have to learn how to interpret subtle signs.”

He said the reports of hundreds of possible errors were wildly exaggerated:

You could be tired, distracted, but not incompetent. These claims are difficult to swallow.

Dr. Bergeron can’t be sanctioned by the college for any misread mammograms because he is no longer a member. Women who feel victimized can file a civil suit. As we reported in November, at least one woman has.

“I understand the stress that thousands of women must be feeling,” Dr. Robert said. ‘We will strengthen our quality control to ensure that this doesn’t happen anymore.”

Meanwhile, in America, a woman who underwent an experimental radiation treatment for breast cancer in June 2010 as part of a clinical trial has sued because of a defective radiation shield.

The woman, a 58-year-old clinical psychologist identified in the lawsuit as “Jane Doe,” faces the possible removal of both breasts, according to her attorney, Jeff Milman of Irvine, California. Milman was quoted in the Orange County Register.

The shield, the Axxent Flexishield Mini, was manufactured by Xoft and was recalled in February by iCad, which bought Xoft late last year. The lawsuit targets Xoft, iCad, and Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California.

According to the lawsuit, the shield left tiny particles of tungsten in the patient’s breast. The iCad recall notice said, “After an extensive literature review and laboratory testing, we have determined that the toxicity of these very pure tungsten particles is low.”

Milman wasn’t so sure. He told the Daily Pilot of Costa Mesa, California: “There is no good long-term data as to how safe tungsten is.” He said doctors had recommended that the patient have her breast removed as a precaution and possibly the other breast as well “in order to achieve a more natural appearance.”

The lawyer said his client had signed a release form before undergoing the treatment.

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One Response to “Hundreds Of Breast Cancer Retests Ordered”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Long-Running Quebec Probe Adds 4,500 Scans on August 30th, 2011 at 10:06 am

    […] Last November’s investigation focused on now-retired radiologist Raymond Bergeron, MD. After reviewing 15,000 mammograms, the College of Physicians called several hundred women back for retests. Dr. Bergeron defended himself, saying that he believed he had misread only three mammograms. […]