Cancer Misdiagnosis Solicitors
Our clinical negligence solicitors and litigation lawyers have settled many cancer misdiagnosis claims.
Our clinical negligence solicitors and lawyers have considerable experience in dealing with cases involving all types of cancer. The claims often involve a delay in diagnosis when, for example, a General Practitioner has delayed in referring for investigation, or a hospital doctor has failed to perform a necessary test such as a scan. Some cases involve misreporting of scans, smears or biopsies.
We realise that you or a family member may be coming to terms with the diagnosis of cancer, or that you may have lost a loved one and have concerns about their treatment. Our experience in misdiagnosis claims means that we are able to offer you support and understanding, as well as the best legal advice.
Call our specialist clinical negligence solicitors today on 01904 556 600 or contact us.
Cancer is a disease that occurs when abnormal cells divide and multiply in an uncontrolled way. In many cases, these abnormal cells spread from one tissue or organ to another, either to a neighbouring structure, or to a distant part of the body. Once this has happened, the cancer is much more difficult to treat successfully.
There are more than 200 different types of cancer, the most common being breast cancer, prostate cancer, bowel cancer and lung cancer. We have a number of cases involving cancer claims within the department at any one time, including breast cancer, bowel cancer, liver cancer, melanoma, brain tumour, bladder cancer, bone cancer, and cervical cancer, amongst others.
About half the people in the UK will get cancer in their lifetime, but over half of them will survive for at least ten years after their diagnosis. The survival rate, in the UK, has doubled over the last 40 years.
However, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment is essential to giving patients the best possible outcome and chance of survival.
The treatment for cancer depends on the type of cancer, where it is in the body, and how advanced it is at the time of diagnosis.
The main forms of treatment are surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Surgery – The tumour or cancerous cells are physically removed in an operation. This will often require the removal of some healthy tissue around the tumour, to make sure that no cancerous cells are left behind.
Radiotherapy – Intense and very accurately focussed beams of radiation are projected at the tumour from different directions at once. They cause little harm to the healthy tissues they pass through, but where the beams cross, at the site of the tumour, the radiation is so intense that it destroys the abnormal cancerous cells. Sometimes radiotherapy will be used before surgery, to shrink a tumour and make it easier or safer to remove it. It is often used after surgery to kill any remaining cancerous cells that could not be removed in the operation. Sometimes it is effective on its own.
Chemotherapy – Very powerful drugs are used to destroy the abnormal cancerous cells. While chemotherapy is notorious for its side-effects, the drugs are becoming more and more focussed so as to damage the tumour while causing as little harm as possible to healthy organs and tissues. This can be used in conjunction with other treatments, or on its own.
What can happen if cancer is untreated
Sadly, healthcare professionals sometimes miss the early signs of cancer and fail to arrange the investigations necessary for a diagnosis. This can lead to delays of months of even years before a diagnosis is made.
This can result in the tumour growing and the cancer spreading to other parts of the body. This can have a huge effect on the patient’s chance of a cure. It can also mean the patient requires treatment that would not have been necessary otherwise.
Where cancer is diagnosed early, it might be treated with radiotherapy or a minor operation. After a lengthy delay, it might require major surgery to several parts of the body, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
It might be that the delay has allowed the cancer to spread which, as well as requiring more invasive and complex treatment, might have greatly reduced the patient’s chance of long-term survival or cure.
Recent successful claims
£750,000 for young woman with skin cancer
A 30 year old woman from Chester received £750,000 for the negligent delay in referring her to specialists for a suspicion of melanoma. She had attended her GP, worried about a new mole on her shoulder. Wrongly, he reassured her. She returned a few months later as it had grown. The GP removed it and reassured her again. The mole returned and the patient saw a different doctor. He suspected melanoma and referred her to hospital. Melanoma was diagnosed, but sadly the cancer had spread and it was not expected that she would survive.
If the melanoma had been diagnosed at the outset, as it should have been, her chance of a cure would have been around 95%, whereas after the delay, it had fallen to around 15%.
Liability was admitted and a settlement was reached of £750,000.
£128,000 settlement for delay in diagnosing kidney cancer
Pryers supported the family of Mrs G in a claim for medical negligence, after a delay in diagnosis of renal cancer caused her death.
Mrs G underwent a CT scan of her pelvis which showed a large tumour on her kidney. Unfortunately, this was missed by the radiologist. Pryers’ investigations showed that the Hospital had been negligent in failing to diagnose Mrs G with cancer at this stage. If it had been diagnosed at this point, Mrs G would probably have survived.
Instead, it was another 18 months before the cancer was diagnosed, by which time it had spread to her lungs and was considered inoperable. She received chemotherapy and radiotherapy but passed away shortly afterwards.
Pryers negotiated an out of court settlement in the sum of £128,000.
£500,000 for delay in diagnosing cancer on the leg
Mrs W attended her GP many times over a 5 year period, regarding what her doctor said was a wart on her leg. He treated it by freezing it over 25 times over the years, although it kept returning and getting bigger. Eventually, the patient was seen by another doctor who recognised it as a form of skin cancer. Mrs W was admitted to hospital for surgery and radiotherapy. Unfortunately, this was not effective and so she underwent an above-the-knee amputation of her leg.
If the diagnosis had been made earlier, the lesion on the leg would have been removed with a single operation and the patient would very probably have made a full recovery.
After Pryers’ investigations, liability was admitted and the case was settled for £500,000, which allowed Mrs W to buy a high quality prosthetic leg and other equipment she required, as well as making some alterations to her home.
If you, a family member or a loved one have been the victim of a cancer misdiagnosis, you may have a case for a claim. Contact one of our cancer misdiagnosis specialist here at Pryers solicitors today for helpful, friendly advice.