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New mathematical model could improve breast cancer diagnosis, treatment

Early and accurate diagnosis is critical when it comes to effectively treating cancer. Depending on the type of cancer a patient is suspected to have, there are a variety of screening tests that can be used to diagnose the condition.

Diagnosis is not only about identifying the type of cancer a patient has, but also about predicting the course of development of the condition. The latter is sometimes referred to as the natural history of the condition. This allows for treatment not only of the primary tumor, but also for tracking secondary metastatic growth. One of the tools used to do this is mathematical models. 

Not all mathematical models used in cancer diagnosis are created equal. In a recent study from the National Research University Higher School of Economics, researchers reviewed current models for diagnosis the growth of primary tumor and secondary metastasis in breast cancer and developed a combined or comprehensive model as a software solution.

As it turns out, the model ended up performing better when compared to existing models in terms of accurately predicting breast cancer development and patient outcomes. More research needs to be done, of course, to fine tune the model and then make it more widely available to clinicians, but it certainly is a good start.

Physicians, of course, are not expected to—and cannot—always be on the cutting edge of cancer research. Diagnostic and treatment models take time to develop, fine tune, and gain acceptance. Physicians are, however, responsible for following accepted standards when it comes to cancer screening and diagnosis, and can be held liable for failing to follow them. Those who have been harmed by a physician’s failure to act appropriately in regard to cancer screening should work with an experienced attorney to determine their legal options.

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