Monday, August 20, 2012

Preventing Misdiagnosis in Breast Cancer

How common are lab errors? According to one study, 1 in 100 women (1%) may receive the wrong diagnosis due to a lab mix-up. With about 1.6 million women having breast biopsies each year, simple math shows that an alarming number may be misdiagnosed. How do we make sure that NEVER happens with our patients? Read on...

Question: I will be having a breast biopsy in a week, and I'm very concerned about something. I am worried that my sample might get mixed up with the sample of someone else, and that I might get a false positive that way. How do you make sure that samples don't get mixed up and that I get the proper results?

Answer: At Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, we understand your concerns.  Your fear is one that is shared by many people, and for good reason. Please rest assured that at ZPR we ensure that you get the right results by using the know error® breast biopsy system.

The system is very simple and painless, and uses DNA technology to match positive samples to patients. Here's how it works in a nutshell: Before your biopsy, a technologist will take a swab of the inside of your cheek. This gathers a sample of your DNA. As you probably know, DNA is individual to each person. No two people have the same DNA.

After your biopsy, all the samples, and your swab are carefully labeled and sent for analysis. In the event that your biopsy result comes back positive, the DNA from your sample is matched with the DNA from your cheek swab. You can have peace of mind that there is no way that you will get a result that isn't yours.

This is just one of the ways that ZPR strives to ensure patient safety and high standards for all of our patients across Nassau and Suffolk counties of Long Island. If you have any questions or concerns that you would like addressed, please contact us.


  1. OK, you confirm the positive result. What about a negative result that may not be mine?

  2. Great question -- If you got a negative result due to a mixup of samples, then someone else got a positive result. The positive result is double checked with the DNA swab, and when it is discovered that it isn't a match, then they go back and look at all the tests done on that same day and properly match them. Since all positive results are confirmed to make sure they belong to the right person, you can be sure that you will get the right test results.