Fear of Diagnosis: A Case of Tumor Neglect in Breast Cancer

Author(s): Clarke TR, Roa C

A 57-year-old female presented to the emergency room with chief complaints of sudden severe right hip pain and an inability to walk. On examination, she was found to have a mass on her right femur and an ulcerated mass on her right breast, and she admitted to having the growing breast mass ftor 7 months prior. Imaging of the right femur revealed a 9 cm lytic lesion. Resection and biopsy resulted in a diagnosis of metastatic adenocarcinoma of breast origin. She has no economic, social, or geographic barriers to medical care. She cited fear and anxiety of receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer as reason for delay in seeking care. She attributed this to her past negative experiences with her mother’s breast cancer journey, which led ultimately to death. This is an example of how past disease-related traumatic experiences can cause psychological barriers to seeking medical care.

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