Our cancer negligence solicitors offer a no win no fee legal service on claims for late diagnosed or undiagnosed cancer. There are no legal charges to pay which means that if you lose the claim, then you will not be asked to pay solicitor's charges.
As there is a strict time limit on making an adult cancer medical negligence claim, it is important to contact us as soon as possible for an informal discussion with one of our cancer negligence solicitors. They will be able to ascertain the validity of your claim, and clearly explain the legal process, as well as how much the financial settlement is likely to be.
Cancer can be diagnosed by just about any doctor when it is in its advanced stages. However, the idea behind controlling cancer is to diagnose it in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable.
Cancer patients are especially vulnerable. Cancer, if left undiagnosed and untreated, can lead to severe illness and death. Even patients who are diagnosed with cancer can suffer a loss of life or shortening of their life if the disease isn’t treated properly. Side effects can ensue from giving the patient the wrong medication to treat their cancer.
Unfortunately, cancer misdiagnosis is becoming increasingly commonplace. In addition, there are those who are not given a timely diagnosis until it is too late. For example, if someone is left without a correct diagnosis, their cancer can become worse, making the chance of survival less likely, and subjecting them to aggressive, uncomfortable treatment. These cases often warrant a claim for damages for personal injury and financial loss.
Perhaps the biggest error in dealing with cancer is the lack of ability to diagnose cancer. There are few statistics on all types of cancer as to how often the doctor fails to recognize that a patient’s abnormality is, in fact, cancer. In one study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed that up to 71 percent of general practitioners were unable to identify the presence of breast cancer, while specialists in breast cancer had only a 3 percent error rate. So what does this mean for the woman worried about breast cancer? Have a specialist examine you and a board certified radiologist read your mammogram so that you get the proper diagnosis right away.
The misdiagnosis or under-diagnosis is bad enough. Some doctors are able to diagnose the disease of cancer but are woefully unaware of the latest treatments available for the disease. They use outdated modes of chemotherapy, too aggressive surgery or not enough aggressive surgery. They use radiation when it isn’t warranted or fail to use radiation therapy when it is recommended. There can be errors in giving what is otherwise the correct treatment, such as surgical errors, radiation mistakes and mistakes in using chemotherapy properly. Some of these mistakes can result in direct patient death or indirect patient death due to under-treatment of the disease.
There are many choices of chemotherapy agents for cancer patients and they vary according to the degree of helpfulness for different cancers. Some doctors use treatments that are outdated and not as successful as more modern therapies. There are, for example, many new therapies, such as hormonal therapies, for breast cancer. The doctor who doesn’t read or learn about these therapies is doing the patient a great injustice.
A negligent healthcare professional can on occasion, give a false positive cancer diagnosis. This may be extremely serious in the case of wrongly diagnosed patients who are given unwarranted treatment which may include radiation or chemotherapy, both of which can be life threatening. The physical and psychological damage caused to the wrongly diagnosed patient may result in a substantial financial settlement.
Our firm's cancer negligence solicitors work to make sure that you can claim the highest possible award for damages. Please do not hesitate to make contact and speak to one of our lawyers with no cost and no further obligation.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a set of abnormal cells which divide faster and uncontrollably than normal cells. It spreads and eats into other body tissues and gradually causes destruction. There are more than 200 types of cancers which are identified to occur in the human body. The commonest cancers are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer in both males and females and prostate cancer in males. Cancers can cause early death especially if not identified and treated early. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world which is second only to heart diseases.
What is meant by cancer misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis means wrong or mistaken diagnosis. Cancer misdiagnosis means that there is a diagnostic error and it was not diagnosed early as expected or wrongly diagnosed as a benign condition. Because of this you or your loved one will not be given proper treatment or timely surgical care which is needed. You will likely to be given wrong treatment or no treatment at all, which is devastating. Suddenly because of misdiagnosis, you will find yourself or your loved one diagnosed with a cancer which is terminal or in advanced stage which is now incurable. It may be a reason for premature death. However, if it was diagnosed early, it would have been cured.
Cancer misdiagnosis can occur the other way round too. You might have a benign condition, but you are wrongly diagnosed as cancer which can cause you unwanted anxiety or even unnecessary treatment. The doctor who misdiagnosed can be found liable for unnecessary fear and worry that the patient suffers, while under the impression that he or she suffers a potentially fatal illness.
What are the incidences of cancer misdiagnosis?
Cancer misdiagnosis is surprisingly common. Incidence is also on the rise.
According to a study done in Mayo clinic in 2017, 10 -20% of patients were found to be misdiagnosed at first. These data was collected from the patients who visited the Mayo clinic for second opinion.
According to American cancer society, most commonly misdiagnosed cancer is Breast cancer. It can be misdiagnosed as cysts, fat necrosis or fibro cystic disease. It can be easily mistaken with other conditions because symptoms can be similar.
Thyroid cancer can be misdiagnosed as Grave’s disease or other thyroid disorders, Lyme disease or as cancer of the neck. Lymphomas can be misdiagnosed as noncancerous diseases which can occur in the gut. Melanomas can be wrongly diagnosed as moles and unusual skin growths. Prostate cancer can be misdiagnosed as benign prostatic hyperplasia or bladder cancer where the treatment is completely different. Lung cancer can be misdiagnosed as pneumonia, lung abscess or even as asthma.
Medical negligence in cancer misdiagnosis
Failure to diagnose cancer is a common type of medical negligence or malpractice claim. Proving medical negligence due to misdiagnosis of cancer is difficult because of the difficulty of proving the cause and the different approaches taken to diagnose.
• When a doctor who is negligent missed a diagnosis and if the patient seeks second opinion where the second doctor who is also an oncologist diagnoses it correctly, patient may be able to sue the first doctor for medical negligence. However you should be able to prove that because of that failure to diagnose the condition early, it caused you harm. Diagnostic error of a doctor in relation to cancer can lead to improper treatment, delay in starting treatment or giving no treatment at all. This can worsen the patient’s condition; make a potentially curable illness non curable or even lead to death. This is meant by causing harm to a patient due to misdiagnosis.
• Treatment which works for one illness may not work for another. Some cancers are needed to be treated with chemotherapy (killing of cancer cells by giving strong medicines) first and then proceed for surgery where as other cancers will be treated by surgery first before chemotherapy or radiotherapy (using ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells). Misdiagnosis will affect the order of treatment thus causing harm to the patient.
• If the doctor prescribed you the wrong medication or did the wrong surgery on you due to misdiagnosis, it is a serious type of medical negligence. It may lead to irreversible harm caused to patient.
• Usually cancer is confirmed following testing of biopsy samples by a pathologist. If samples were not taken from the correct site or if biopsy specimen was inadequate for testing, the pathologist may give a report which is false negative. It is also the duty of the doctor who requests the biopsy to write a proper history of the patient along with the request, so that it will be easier for the pathologist to interpret the results. Failure to do so can lead to a wrong diagnosis, thus cancer may be missed.
• If the patient had just a benign tumour, but had to undergo strong treatment regimens such as chemotherapy because it was misdiagnosed as cancer, the patient has to face unwanted side effects from these unnecessary treatments.
• Cancer affects millions of patients worldwide every year. It is a well-known fact that early diagnosis and starting treatment is critical in achieving the best clinical outcome for any patient diagnosed with cancer. If the investigations were delayed unnecessarily, it may take a long time to diagnose the condition which further delays starting of treatment, which directly comes under medical negligence.
Doctor’s role to prevent medical negligence
Every doctor should focus on their patients and try his or her best to take a complete history and thorough examination of the patient, so that important symptoms and signs may not be missed. Therefore negligence may be minimal. The doctor should make every attempt to build up a good doctor patient relationship. Explanation and advice should be given adequately until patient understands the condition. Fears and worries of the patient should be alleviated with caution and empathy. The patient should feel that his or her doctor cares. This will reduce the number of legal claims and possible suing against doctors.SOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0330 660 7004