MONTREAL – A sweeping medical study of thousands of mammograms in Quebec has found 109 cases of breast cancer that had not been previously diagnosed.
The provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons, which carried out the investigation, said Monday that all the patients whose cancer was missed have since been treated and no one died.
The professional body proposed a series of recommendations to avoid such a situation in the future, including monitoring by a panel of four expert radiologists to assure quality control, and double-checking of results. Several of the recommendations have already been implemented or are in the process of being implemented.
The radiologist at the centre of the misdiagnosis retired in October 2010, a month before the college was informed there might have been errors in his readings of mammogram results.
The radiologist had worked at three different private clinics and the inquiry re-examined all the radiologist’s cases between October 2008 and October 2010.
Charles Bernard, a spokesman for the college, said 96 cancer caseswere discovered as a result of the re-evaluation and noted the College’s two investigators found “an unusually high number of discrepancies on the films reviewed.”
The other 13 cancers were found after the investigation was expanded to include other radiologists working in the same clinics.
The inquiry concluded that these cancers would not have been obvious to the radiologists.
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