Misdiagnosis of Breast Cancer

According to the leading cancer charity Cancer Research UK, there are over 46,000 Britons diagnosed with breast cancer every year, making it the most common type of cancer in the UK.

In some cases unfortunately, some patients could have had their cancer diagnosed sooner. If this has happened to a loved one or to you, what options are open to you? What things can you do, and is it worth claiming for medical negligence to stop the same thing happening to someone else?

What Constitutes Breast Cancer Negligence?

There are many reasons why a breast cancer case might end in a claim for medical negligence. Some of the most common are:

  • Failure to diagnose breast cancer quickly enough
  • Not diagnosing breast cancer from the patient’s symptoms and signs
  • Missing breast cancer after the patient has had a scan

NICE Guidelines on Referral

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has set out guidelines stating when GPs should arrange to refer their patients urgently to a breast cancer specialist. These are:

  • Patients with a separate, distinct, hard lump which is fixed, with or without dimpling, whatever their age
  • People aged over 30 who have a distinct lump which is still there after the next menstrual period, or which appears after menopause
  • Women aged under 30 with a growing lump, or who have other factors linked with cancer such as a strong family history
  • Patients who have had breast cancer before and who have a new lump or other symptoms, whatever their age
  • Patients who notice a change in their nipple shape
  • Patients experiencing bloody discharge from one nipple
  • Males aged 50 or over who have found a firm lump on one breast but who are not experiencing changes in their skin or the shape of their nipple.

Any of these patients should be seen within a fortnight of being referred.

Medical Negligence and Delayed Diagnosis

An estimated 1 in 9 women [and a very small number of men ] will be affected by breast cancer at some point during their life. The prognosis for many of them is good however, as breast cancer can often be successfully treated. The chances of making a full recovery are always greater if the cancer is caught early. Any delay in the initial diagnosis may lead to the cancer spreading which means it requires more radical treatment and may even prove fatal.

It’s for these reasons that it is so important that GPs pick up the symptoms and signs of breast cancer and make sure that patients are referred on to see a specialist. If the doctor delays, this could lead to a delay in diagnosis and any treatment which is needed. Any delay could dramatically change a patient’s chances of making a full recovery.

Could I be Entitled to Make a Claim?

If you think that the care provided to you by did not meet the standards you would expect from a medical professional, then you might be able to make a claim for medical negligence compensation. Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a serious condition such as breast cancer can have a serious effect on your recovery chances.

You may have grounds for a claim if your family doctor doesn’t pick up the symptoms of breast cancer, and as a consequence your treatment is delayed. If you had been examined properly, you may well have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and the suffering may have been reduced.

Sometimes, if a doctor delays in diagnosing breast cancer this can mean that the cancer has the opportunity to spread. This sort of misdiagnosis of breast cancer can cause serious levels of suffering, and even has the potential to be fatal for the patient concerned.

If you, or a loved one, has experienced any delay in breast cancer diagnosis which has led to some sort of injury, get in touch with a specialist solicitor as soon as possible to find out whether you have fallen victim to medical negligence. If a medical professional has not identified symptoms of breast cancer or has failed to refer you for further tests then they might have given you a below standard level of care. If this is the case, then you will have grounds for putting forward a claim for medical negligence compensation.

Thinking of a Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim? Call our specialists today

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    How To Make A Bone Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim

    Cancer is regrettably something that almost half of us will encounter during our lives according to Macmillan Cancer Support – and it can be an incredibly stressful and scary time. Luckily, in the UK we can expect a high level of care and treatment for any type of cancer, bone cancer included. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that mistakes are not made, and medical negligence (sometimes called clinical negligence) simply occur far too often in our hospitals.

    If you have been diagnosed with cancer and believe you have suffered due to an error made your medical care, you could be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

    What Is Bone Cancer?

    When it comes to bone cancer, there are primary tumours (a tumour that actually starts by growing inside one of your bones) and secondary tumours (when existing cancer spreads into the bone from another part of the body). There are four main types of primary bone cancer:

    • Osteosarcoma: the most common type, this is found mainly in children and young people, and develops mostly in the larger bones of the body.

    • Ewing’s Sarcoma: this is usually found in the shin, thigh, or pelvis, and mainly affects children and people under 20 years of age.

    • Chondrosarcoma: this usually affects adults between 40 and 50 years of age, and can develop in the shoulder blade, ribs, pelvis, thigh and upper arm bone.

    • Spindle Cell Sarcoma: this affects adults over 40 years of age but has similar symptoms to osteosarcoma.

    Symptoms of bone cancer include: progressively worsening bone pain that is more painful at night, swollen joints, sweating (again, more at night), weight loss, and a high temperature. While bone cancer is very rare, all of these symptoms should be checked out by a doctor if they occur together. While the causes of bone cancer aren’t always clear, people can be more likely to develop it if they have had exposure to radiation or if they suffer from Paget’s disease of the bone.

    What Can Bone Cancer Misdiagnosis Involve?

    As with any form of cancer, there are several different ways in which bone cancer can be misdiagnosed. As the main treatment used for bone cancer is chemotherapy (to shrink the tumour) followed by surgery to remove the affected bone (in the past, this involved amputation, but now can be done using a metal implant as a substitute), a misdiagnosis can lead to unthinkable consequences. A recent study found that primary bone cancer was being misdiagnosed by some doctors as growing pains or sporting injuries, due to the symptoms of pain in the bones and swollen joints being similar in both cases. This can be especially true of osteosarcoma cases, which occur mostly in children and can get misdiagnosed due to more common explanations. You could be entitled to make a compensation claim for bone cancer misdiagnosis if:

    • A diagnosis of bone cancer has been made when you haven’t actually got cancer.

    • A failure to diagnose bone cancer has led to a delay in your treatment.

    • Symptoms of your cancer were mistaken for something else entirely.

    • Any delay occurred with your diagnosis.

    • A medial professional failed to properly inform you of the outcomes and risks of a procedure or course of treatment.

    • Improper methods were used during tests which led to further complications.

    There can be other forms of misdiagnosis when it comes to bone cancer, so make sure you get the advice of a professional, experienced medical negligence solicitor before you make a claim.

    Making Your Bone Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim

    As with other claims of medical negligence, it is very important to make your claim as soon as you become aware of the issue. This is because there are often strict time limits for these types of cases (generally you will have three years from the moment you knew about the problem within which to make your claim), and therefore it is absolutely essential that you don’t delay. If you think you may have through claim, get in touch with our team today.

    Thinking of making a Bone Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim? Contact Us Now

    If you’re unsure whether or not you could make a claim for bone cancer misdiagnosis (or any other form of medical negligence), don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

    Our specialist solicitors are highly experienced in all forms of medical negligence and will be able to guide you through the whole process of making a claim. If you have any questions regarding bone cancer misdiagnosis, give us a ring today; we offer a FREE first phone call as well as a FREE initial consultation, either at our offices or at your home or hospital if you are unable to travel. We can offer you the best advice possible on your claim and inform you what your next steps should be regarding your bone cancer misdiagnosis.

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    • Or reach us via the enquiry form below for expert advice.