Cancer needs to be diagnosed early and correctly so you have the best chance of recovery. If mistakes are made by medical professionals, your diagnosis might be delayed and it may mean your cancer is harder to treat, or has become terminal.
It was reported in 2011 that 1 in 4 cancer sufferers have been misdiagnosed by GPs causing a delay in treatment. In 2014 a newspaper reported that almost half (46%) of cancer patients are diagnosed late.
Negligence Claimline are specialists in compensation claims for cancer. We have helped many people make a claim in areas of cancer misdiagnosis, undiagnosed cancer, delayed cancer treatment and complications arising from cancer.
The term "misdiagnosis of cancer" may include a range of scenarios, including:
- being told you have cancer when you don't
- cancer being diagnosed incorrectly as another medical condition, or
- the diagnosis of cancer being made at too late a stage for any treatment to make a significant improvement to your condition.
Before making a claim against your healthcare professional or medical organisation, speak to one of our team. We will pass your information to one of our expert medical negligence panel members. It is free and confidential.
Our specialist panel of medical negligence solicitors are can help with your medical negligence claim. If medical negligence has occurred Negligence Claimline is the company to contact.
You may have a medical negligence claim if a medical professional failed to:
- Examine you correctly
- Refer you to a cancer specialist
- Recognise and investigate symptoms properly
- Refer you for Ultrasound, MRI and CT scans
- Send you for the correct tests
- Give you the correct treatment
How can cancer misdiagnosis happen?
Doctors are highly trained individuals, but they are not perfect and even the most experienced doctor may misinterpret the signs or symptoms of an illness. It’s possible for mistakes to be made in a lab or signs to be missed on x-rays or other scans.
If something has gone wrong in the course of consultations that leads to the diagnosis of cancer, you deserve acknowledgement of any mistakes made and, if necessary, financial compensation. There are a number of ways in which grounds for a misdiagnosis claim can be established. You should consider:
- Did the medical professional examine you correctly?
- Were all symptoms recorded and investigated properly?
- Were all the necessary tests carried out in a timely manner?
- Were test results assessed correctly and by a specialist? (there have been cases of medical negligence where test results were interpreted incorrectly leading to wrong or delayed diagnoses)
- Were you referred for scans (x-rays, MRI etc) in a timely manner?
- Were you referred to an oncologist (cancer specialist) early enough?
If you were incorrectly diagnosed as having cancer when it was, in fact, another condition, you should find out if your test results were read incorrectly, or if the much rarer circumstance of there being a mix-up with the results. This could apply if you are already suffering from cancer and you are told incorrectly that it has spread to another part of the body (secondary tumours).
What do we cover?
Our experts can help you if you’ve suffered a delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis of, or delayed treatment of any cancer including the following:
- Adrenal cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Blood cancer
- Bile duct cancer
- Bone cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Brain tumour
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Mouth and throat cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Soft tissue cancer
- Skin cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- OTHER cancers
Cancer in General
There are around 200 different types of cancer currently identified which affect various parts of your body. Usually they have names such as Myeloma, Sarcoma or Carcinoma to name just a few. Delayed diagnosis of cancer or misdiagnosed cancer are two of the main reasons why compensation claims are brought against health professionals.
An "Adenoma" is a benign (non-cancerous) tumour made up from epithelial tissue.
The word “Carcinoma” refers to cancers that develop from certain cells called “Epithelial” and occurs when the DNA of a cell becomes damaged or altered. In contrast to Carcinoma, a “Sarcoma” refers to cancers of either connective or other non-epithelial tissue.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that occurs in the Lymphatic system and there are two main types, Hodgkin Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells (a type of white blood cell) in bone marrow
Melanoma refers to cancer of the pigment cells of the skin and is derived from the word Melas. In Greek this means black.
Is cancer often misdiagnosed?
The NHSResolution, the body that looks after all claims made against the NHS, say their figures show that in 2014/15 cancer was the second most misdiagnosed condition they received claims for.
How do we help?
Here at Negligence Claimline our friendly team are here to help you get the support you need. Working with a panel of specialist medical negligence solicitors, we can assist you with your potential claim for medical negligence.
Sometimes an apology is enough, but in other cases compensation will be the only solution to help you get your life back on track.
Our service, putting you in contact with one of our expert panel members, is free and you are not obliged to take the advice the solicitor gives you, or to progress your claim any further if you do not wish.
Can I sue the NHS?
The NHS was created so that good healthcare should be available to all, and it is one of the country’s proudest achievements. However, if something goes wrong during your treatment you deserve answers and, where necessary, financial compensation.
We do not treat your claim lightly. However, the treatment you consider negligent must be considered unreasonable, irresponsible, and harmful.
When someone suffers an injury that impacts their life, or that of a loved one, then it is vital that the NHS has the procedures in place to both compensate the patient and learn from their mistakes.
Things to consider when making your claim
If your diagnosis was incorrect, you may have made significant changes to your life in the belief that you had cancer. You may have given up work or made modifications to your home. There is the psychological effect that a cancer diagnosis can have on you and the people around you. Some people may feel unable to cope with the mental strain of being given the diagnosis, and will suffer more emotional difficulty when they find out that the initial diagnosis was not right. This may have a negative effect on their how they manage their health, lifestyle and relationships.
If your diagnosis was delayed due to medical negligence, you may have had to undergo life-changing surgery or the effects of chemotherapy (which has led to reduced fertility, amongst other possibilities). If you were treated for another condition this may also have had a negative effect on your health before the correct diagnosis of cancer was made.
The severity of your situation as a result of medical negligence and misdiagnosis will have a direct effect on the value of your claim. Some things such as loss of earnings are more easily calculated. There are some things, such as psychological effects and detriment to your health which may be more difficult to assess. The legal term for these costs is ‘damages’. They are usually split into two categories; general damages and special damages.
What may be included in your special damages claim:
- Loss of earnings – this may be loss of earnings from becoming too ill to work as well as the loss of future earnings if you are not able to return to work. You may also be able to claim for some loss of earnings for a spouse or family member if they have been forced to give up work to contribute to your care
- Travel costs – if you are required to travel a significant distance to see specialists you can claim for fuel costs and accommodation
- Parking expenses for time spent in hospital
- Childcare costs – if you need to pay for child care while you are in hospital
- Modifications to your home – for example, if you are required to use a wheelchair and this deterioration in health could have been prevented by a correct and timely diagnosis
- Specialist equipment you need in your home to live to a quality of life you are used to
- Any extra care or medical treatment costs (outside of NHS care)
General damages include, but are not limited to:
- Pain and suffering – pain caused by incorrect treatment or preventable surgery
- Loss of amenity – for example the effect on an athlete’s career caused by incorrect treatment
- Psychological suffering
- How much the negligence has effected your quality of life if you were misdiagnosed as having cancer when it was in fact another, ultimately treatable condition, the compensation framework will be the same, particularly in the case of general damages.
- There have been cases of cancer misdiagnosis and late diagnosis that have had devastating effects on the patients’ lives. In some cases, the diagnosis has come so late that there has not been enough time for fertility-preservation treatments. Some patients have had to have life-changing surgery and even amputations to remove and prevent the spread of cancer. The extent of these will be considered when calculating your damages claim.
Find out more about negligence in our Advice Centre
Some useful links:
- Citizens Advice
- NHS Constitution
- Healthwatch UK
If you believe that you, or a loved one, have suffered an injury as a result of medical or clinical negligence then call our friendly team on 0330 355 9210* where they will take some details and pass them to a team of specialist solicitors.