A woman recently had one of her breasts removed at the University Hospital in Linköping only to learn after the surgery that she did not have breast cancer.
“It’s a very unfortunate error,” the University Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer Hans Rutberg told local newspaper Norrköpings Tidningar.
According to guidelines from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), a tissue sample should have been discussed during a special round of doctors, but this was not done.
Recently, two similar cases occurred at Gävle Hospital in eastern Sweden when a 47-year-old woman had her breast removed after a contaminated test led doctors to believe she had cancer and a 34-year-old was misdiagnosed.
Officials there blame the mistakes on a shortage of pathologists at the hospital.
The National Health Board is notified of all events.
According to the Board’s 2009 statistics, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and constitutes 29 percent of diagnosed cases in Sweden. The average annual rate of increase for breast cancer was 1.2 percent over the past twenty years.
Although science has made advances in breast cancer treatment, critics claim it currently does not adequately address the psychological effects of losing a breast nor the effects of a misdiagnosis of cancer followed by unnecessary treatment.
According to recent studies, a diagnosis of breast cancer forces women to consider living without their gender-defining curves and to re-evaluate their lives from every aspect, causing immense psychological stress.