Computer glitch gives two women all clear from breast cancer wrongly

Two Victorian women were diagnosed with breast cancer 3 months after a computer error wrongly cleared them of the disease. This happened at BreastScreen Victoria. Authorities, after a bungle in images and patient details, had to re-examine about 5,000 mammograms of various women in November. The re-examination started before Christmas found 5,336 women to be all-clear and two were found to have breast cancer. One result will be unknown for six months because of unrelated medical reasons. Of the all-clear group two women with cancer were declared clear wrongly.

CEO Vicki Pridmore apologized, “We deeply regret having to inform these two women, who had previously been given the all clear, their screens were in fact not clear, with further investigation showing they have breast cancer… It would have been a shock for women that had been given an all-clear, a shock for them and their families. I have spoken with one directly and the other woman I am speaking to in the coming week. Their absolute focus is now their treatment and their health…Clearly, obviously, I would have preferred that these cancers had been found three months ago, but I am very grateful that we have found them now and not at the routine re-screening point, which would have been in another two years.”

She assured that this would not happen again adding, “We’ve put in place safeguards at the point in time of discovering the issue and we’ve had no further incidents… I am absolutely 100 per cent confident that that has been fixed.”

She also said that this incident should not discourage Victorian women from attending their next routine mammogram. “We’ve detected over 17,000 cancers in the 20 years the program has been running, and for a lot of those women it saved their lives,” she said

Ananya Mandal

Written by

Ananya Mandal

Ananya is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
Post a new comment
You might also like... ×
Cancer Research UK and AstraZeneca open new Functional Genomics Centre