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This article was published on August 12th, 2022
In the UK, one in two people will experience cancer at some point in their lives. Correct diagnosis and prompt treatment are key to a good prognosis and a positive outcome. Sadly, despite the excellent calibre of care provided by the NHS and private health care providers, mistakes can still occur and delays in diagnosis are all too common. This blog will explain what cancer misdiagnosis is and how can we help if you have suffered as a result of negligence.
A cancer misdiagnosis is defined as an error of diagnosis, for example, if a breast lump has been examined and the diagnosis was missed or wrongly considered to be benign when actually it is malignant or cancerous. A case involving a cancer misdiagnosis occurs where it is possible to show that a patient has lost something specific due to the error in diagnosis. For instance, if there has been a delay in diagnosis due to the error and this has resulted in extra pain and suffering or financial loss, or a patient has had to face more drastic medical intervention than they otherwise would have had, then the person is entitled to be compensated for that loss.
The following are the most common types of misdiagnosis:
In the UK, lymphoma is the most common blood cancer with over 14,000 new diagnoses each year. Due to the fact that lymphoma is an immune system cancer and that many of its symptoms are similar to those of a cold or other viruses, it is sometimes missed.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, accounting for 15% of all cases in females and males combined. Prompt diagnosis is associated with a good outcome, however, delays of more than 6 months are often associated with progression of the underlying disease with more extreme treatments being required and often a less favourable prognosis.
Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and it is often misdiagnosed. There are 36,000 bowel cancer cases per year in the UK and it is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer after lung cancer. When bowel cancer is tackled at its earliest stage, more than 50% of patients will survive for five years or more. By contrast, those who are not diagnosed until the disease is in its latest stage have only a 10% chance of survival. The disease is therefore potentially curable but early detection is required.
Lung cancer misdiagnosis is a frequent problem as it often gets misdiagnosed as pneumonia. The symptoms of lung cancer are also similar to other issues such as COPD and asthma.
Skin cancer is frequently misdiagnosed as eczema or another less dangerous conditions. If skin cancer progresses without treatment due to misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and delayed diagnosis, it can be extremely harmful.
If you think that there has been an error in your diagnosis or delay, you are likely to have some overwhelming thoughts and emotions. In terms of bringing a claim, it is important to obtain legal advice at an early stage from a specialist solicitor who will be able to guide you through the complex issues which arise and protect both you and your dependants in the future.
The consequences of delayed treatment or misdiagnosis can be devastating, and if you or a loved one has suffered as a result of cancer negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
As with any clinical negligence compensation claim, it is vital to find a solicitor that has expertise in this complex area. Our team works with the country’s leading medical experts in this area of clinical negligence to ensure that we offer the very best legal advice.
Contact us today to speak to a member of our specialist clinical negligence team on 0800 1979345 or fill out our simple enquiry form.