Cancer is probably the illness most of us dread more than any other. If you had to receive the news that you have got it, you would want the diagnosis at the earliest possible stage. The earlier cancer gets diagnosed, the greater the chance of surviving the disease or managing it more effectively. An early diagnosis is also essential to prevent cancer from spreading to other parts of the body (called metastatis).
Cancer Research UK provide examples of how diagnosing cancer at an early stage can make a big difference to improving a sufferer’s chances of surviving their cancer:
If diagnosed early:
- More than 9 out of 10 bowel cancer sufferers survive the disease for five years or more.
- The majority of people with breast cancer will survive for five years or more.
- Most lung cancer patients will survive the disease for at least a year.
An early diagnosis of cancer depends on many things – the victim recognising the possible early signs of something not being right, making an appointment to visit their GP, the GP recognising the early signs of cancer, a prompt referral onto a cancer specialist and the imaging, biopsies, laboratory, and other tests all getting carried out in timely fashion (and all being undertaken and interpreted correctly).
There should be little room for error in an ideal world, but we are none of us perfect, and mistakes happen.
The NHS is under tremendous pressure. That it suffers from a lack of funding and resources is beyond doubt. When under pressure, people are more prone to making mistakes or misjudgements. Doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are not immune from getting things wrong. In cases of errors below the relevant standard of care (see below) made by medical professionals, these mistakes are known as medical negligence or clinical negligence (both have the same meaning). At the same time, people’s lives are at risk if mistakes made by health professionals lead to misdiagnosis.
A patient who suffers an injury and who can prove that the pain and suffering were caused by medical negligence may have grounds to make a medical negligence claim.
What is meant by cancer misdiagnosis?
‘Cancer misdiagnosis claims’ is an ‘umbrella term’ that includes:
- Cancer misdiagnosis – where the cancer is diagnosed as something else and as a result the patient is given treatment for an entirely different condition. Alternatively, this can happen when test results get wrongly interpreted, or if a doctor has not gone through a patient’s health records in sufficient detail.
- A missed diagnosis of cancer – where a medical professional fails to recognise a condition from symptoms that should have warranted further investigation.
- Delayed diagnosis – this is the consequence of both a misdiagnosis and a missed diagnosis. It ends up with the patient receiving a much later diagnosis and treatment of their illness. Given the statistics show an early diagnosis is of paramount importance to a patients prospects of survival, both misdiagnosis of cancer and missed diagnosis of the disease, can have catastrophic effects for cancer victims and their families.
In what circumstances can I make a cancer misdiagnosis claim?
The standard of care expected to be provided by healthcare professionals to their patients is defined as being that which a reasonably competent and skilled professional with a similar background would have provided in the same circumstances.
The following are examples of when there may be a case for making a cancer misdiagnosis claim :
- Misinterpretation of scans or x-rays
- Delayed referral to a cancer specialist for further investigation
- Misinterpretation of smear tests or tissue samples
- Failure to investigate possible symptoms of cancer.
- Not recognising cancer symptoms
- Failure to carry out a thorough enough examination of a patient displaying symptoms of cancer.
- Insufficient monitoring of a patient whose family have a history of cancer.
- Not carrying out biopsies or other tests quickly enough
How big a problem is cancer misdiagnosis?
A Press Release put out by Cancer Research in 2019 revealed that in just one year, 15,000 cancer patients had been diagnosed too late to give them the best chance of surviving their illness. That meant that almost half of all diagnosed cancers in the UK at stages 3 or 4. Stage 4 is the most advanced cancer stage and has the least available options for treatment and the slimmest chances of survival.
Diagnosis before cancer becomes metastatic i.e., spreads round the body, can be crucial and make a significant difference to treatment/prognosis.
What types of cancer misdiagnosis can be claimed for?
The more common types of cancer claims are for:
- Bowel cancer misdiagnosis claims
- Breast cancer misdiagnosis claims
- Lung cancer misdiagnosis claims
- Prostate cancer misdiagnosis claims
- Cervical cancer misdiagnosis claims
It is possible to make a cancer misdiagnosis claim for other types of cancer than those specified above. The critical factor is a misdiagnosis of cancer followed by the patient suffering pain, suffering and loss that they would not otherwise have done, but for that misdiagnosis.
How do I find out if I have a possible cancer misdiagnosis claim?
Clinical negligence claims are rarely straightforward. Cancer misdiagnosis compensation claims are no exception. The only way to find out whether you have a possible claim for medical negligence due to cancer misdiagnosis is by calling a solicitor experienced in cancer misdiagnosis claims.
At Mooneerams Solicitors, we partner with specialist clinical negligence lawyers who have years of experience handling misdiagnosis of cancer claims. We choose to work closely with our medical negligence partners because we have implicit trust in their ability to win compensation claims for our clients. We also trust them to handle our clients’ medical negligence cases in the same no-nonsense, plain-speaking but professional manner that we expect of ourselves.
How much compensation do you get for a cancer misdiagnosis claim?
If you make a successful cancer misdiagnosis claim, you will recover compensation. This will come from the health authority responsible for the medical professional(s) whose medical negligence caused the delay in your diagnosis. Among other types of compensation, you will recover damages for the pain and suffering you experienced because of the delay.
How much you get depends on the length of the delay in diagnosis and how it affected your treatment options. It depends too on the severity of your illness and many factors that will be individual to your case. The medical negligence solicitor who deals with your claim will be in a position to advise you about how much compensation you could receive when he arrives at the appropriate stage of your claim.
Can I make a No Win No Fee Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim?
Our medical negligence solicitor partners handle most missed cancer diagnosis claims on a No Win No Fee basis. How this system of funding your case works and whether you might be eligible to make a No Win No Fee cancer misdiagnosis claim will be dealt with in more detail when you speak with the medical negligence solicitor.
You can call now to arrange a FREE initial consultation with a cancer misdiagnosis solicitor by calling Mooneerams Solicitors on 029 2048 3615. There will be no charge for the initial legal advice provided during the telephone conversation, and there will be no obligation to take the matter any further after the call.
Call now on 029 2048 3615 or contact us by sending your details to us online.