Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis
As the most common form of the disease, the warning signs are well known to most people. However, this doesn’t mean that you, or medical professionals, don’t miss them.
Sadly breast cancer claims 31 lives every day. Cancer Research UK says that 9 out of 10 patients receive a “very good” or “excellent” standard of care and treatment. Are you the one that didn’t?
Maybe you have lost a loved one to breast cancer and believe that they may have been the victim of medical negligence? Speak to one of our friendly team today and see if one of our expert solicitors can help you.
Common forms of breast cancer include:
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ
This cancer starts in the milk ducts and is amongst the most common form of non-invasive breast cancers. Whilst the word non-invasive means that the cancer has not spread into any other area, there is a possibility that this cancer can increase the risk of developing an invasive breast cancer at some time in the future. The good news is that through screening, more of these cancers are being found earlier making them more treatable.
Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma
This cancer is almost the same as Ductal Carcinoma in Situ however where the previous example has not spread, Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma has spread to the duct walls and requires aggressive treatment. Treatment depends on the size and shape of the solid nodules.
Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma
Similar to Ductal Carcinomas though these cancers are found in the lobules or where milk is produced. It occurs in a lower percentage of women than Ductal Carcinomas however examination via a mammogram can miss the signs.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
An aggressive type of cancer but thankfully rare. It blocks lymph vessels in breast skin and gives the appearance of swollen and red breasts. These cancers tend to be invasive ductal carcinomas which spread from the milk ducts. These cancers cannot be treated using hormone therapies.
Lobular Carcinoma in Situ
These abnormal cells start in the milk producing glands called lobules in the ducts. Being a carcinoma “in situ” this cancer does not spread to surrounding areas but is an indicator for women with a higher than average risk of developing breast cancer in the future.
Male Breast Cancer
Diagnosed in only 350 men each year in the UK, male breast cancer is very rare. It can be linked to a genetic condition called Klinefelter Syndrome and is hereditary. It is usually found in the tissue directly behind the nipple and areola and manifests itself as either a lump in the nipple or armpit, discharge from the nipple or ulcers or it can show as a change in the look or direction of the nipple.
This is a type of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. The word Medullary refers to a part of the brain (Medulla) and it is used in the context of cancer because the tumour is soft and fleshy like the medulla part of the brain. This type of cancer is usually easier to treat than other cancers.
Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastatic indicates a cancer which has spread from its original site. Whilst this is an advanced type of cancer, many women continue to live a long and active life. Treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer comes in a wide variety and medicines are constantly being tested almost every day and if one medication stops working there is often another medication to try.
A rare form of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, this cancer is made up of cancerous cells which are contained in minute pools of mucin or mucus. Although this cancer can occur in people of any age it mainly occurs in post-menopausal women. This type of cancer is less aggressive than others and is less likely to spread.
Often manifests itself as an eczema or psoriasis like appearance to the areola and nipple. This is usually a sign of cancer behind the nipple. Where a person experiences burning or bleeding and itchiness of the nipple but it isn’t abnormal looking, it is unlikely to be Paget’s Disease but should still be checked by a medical professional. There is not always a lump with this cancer.
Usually occurs in post-menopausal women. In appearance its cells have small projections within a definite border and are slow growing in nature. These are identified by means of a mammogram, ultrasound biopsy or fine needle aspiration. When treating the specialist team will want to check lymph nodes to ensure that there are no cancer cells within.
Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
This cancer is more common in women under 40. A small piece of breast tissue will be removed to test for the key parts. It is called Triple Negative because it does not have receptors for Oestrogen, Progesterone or the Protein HER2. Treatment depends on the size and location but usually comprises of Surgery, Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy.
This cancer is being diagnosed more frequently and usually consist of tube shaped structures less than 1cm. Tubular Carcinomas account for up to 27% of all breast cancers but respond well to treatment. It doesn’t usually spread outside of the breast tissue and treatment can take many forms from Surgery through to Hormonal Therapy.
Delayed Diagnosis or Treatment
The diagnosis of breast cancer is usually delayed due to human error where the medical professional does not detect a suspicious lump during a routine breast examination OR the results of a breast examination are misread.
Where the diagnosis of cancer was not made early enough, treatment will invariably also be delayed which could have grave 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.
Cancer needs to be diagnosed early and correctly so you have the best chances 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.
You may have suffered from misdiagnosis if a medical professional didn’t do the following things:
- Examine you correctly
- Refer you to a breast 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
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 our 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, 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
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 03303559210* where they will take some details and pass them to a team of specialist solicitors.