Bowel Cancer Misdiagnosis

Unfortunately with bowel cancer the symptoms are often very difficult to detect and don't appear until it's in the later stages of the disease.

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Bowel Cancer Misdiagnosis

Unfortunately the symptoms of Colorectal cancer are often very difficult to detect and don’t appear until it’s in the later stages of the disease.

The main symptoms of colorectal (bowel) cancer are

  • Change in bowel habit (diarrhoea or constipation)
  • Rectal bleeding (bleeding from the back passage)

Bowel cancer can also present with iron deficiency anaemia. There might be a family history of bowel cancer.

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.

Colorectal cancer includes:

Bowel Cancer

The most common type of bowel cancer is an Adenocarcinoma. The symptoms of this cancer may not make you feel unwell but often manifest itself as persistent blood in stools, a change in your bowel habit and lower abdominal pain and bloating. Often sufferers of bowel cancer experience a loss of appetite or significant weight loss. Bowel cancer also includes rectal and anal cancer.

There are other types of bowel cancer such as Squamous Cell Tumours. Squamous cells create the lining of the bowel along with gland cells. Carcinoid tumours are found in the digestive system but are still classed as bowel cancers.

Leiomyosarcomas are cancer of cells which support the body. Usually these cancers start in the smooth muscle of the bowel. Lymphomas occur in the lymphatic system of the bowel.  

Squamous cell tumours, Carcinoid tumours, Sarcomas and Lymphomas are more rare forms of bowel cancer.

Colon Cancer

Occurs in the inner wall of the large intestine. Usually colon cancer develops from colon polyps and long standing ulcerative colitis. The removal of the polyps can help prevent colon cancer however finding them early is difficult because they may have no symptoms at all. Screening for colon cancer is extremely important.


Once the symptoms have appeared, your medical professional must act quickly to help 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.

How can Colorectal cancer be misdiagnosed?

With bowel cancer, there are other illnesses which could cause some of the same symptoms. For example blood in stools can also be caused by Haemorrhoids and a change in bowel habit could simply be as a result of something you have eaten. Anal Cancer can be misdiagnosed because they present with similar symptoms to haemorrhoids and anal fissures or small tears or sores to the anus. 

Sometimes bowel cancer is negligently diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome. Medical negligence in bowel cancer might lead to ignoring rectal bleeding, a change in bowel habit or iron deficiency anaemia.

Timely treatment of all cancer is very important and delayed treatment could have significant consequences. In some instances a previously performed blood test or scan could have identified the presence of cancer early enough for treatment to be successful.

You may have a medical negligence claim if a medical professional failed to:

  • Recognise the symptoms of bowel cancer
  • Diagnose you correctly
  • Refer you to a Colorectal bowel cancer specialist
  • Send you for the correct tests for bowel cancer
  • Give you the correct treatment
  • Monitor your condition correctly

Is cancer often misdiagnosed?

The NHSLA, 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.

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 live, 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.

Find out more about negligence in our Advice Centre

Call Us

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.