Canada briefs – March 28

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.

Quebec study finds 109 cases of breast cancer that went undiagnosed

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 cases were 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.


Warm weather cuts Manitoba flood risk

WINNIPEG — Record warm weather means there’s little chance of flooding this year in much of Manitoba.

The provincial government says spring runoff is already complete along the Red, Assiniboine, Souris and Pembina rivers, as well as in the southern Interlake region.

The province says there’s only a risk of localized flooding in the south if there are storms with heavy rains.

The province says there’s also a bit of flooding potential in some northern areas, including The Pas, where soil moisture is above average.

It’s a very different story from last year when thousands of people were forced from their homes along the Assiniboine River and around many lakes in the area.


Female RCMP members back class-action suit

VANCOUVER — As many as 150 current and former female members of the RCMP are preparing to stand behind a class-action lawsuit against the force alleging widespread sexual harassment.

The suit, filed in B.C. Supreme Court on behalf of Janet Merlo, who was a constable in B.C. for 19 years, alleges a pattern of sexual discrimination, bullying and harassment.

Merlo claims she was singled out for verbal abuse, pranks involving sex toys, and derogatory insults by senior and fellow officers.

David Klein, one of several lawyers involved in the lawsuit, says the legal action was spurred by a combination of frustration by the women and lack of change in management style at the RCMP.

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