Cancer and clinical negligence

clip_image002Receiving the news that you or a loved one is suffering from cancer is an earth shattering moment. Despite the great improvements made in treating cancer in recent years, receiving the news that you have cancer still initially leads you to think that you are going to die. It is devastating for both the person suffering and for their family and close friends.

The experience can be made even worse when medical or clinical negligence is involved, when there has either been a delay in diagnosing that the patient has cancer, or there has been a wrong diagnosis.

This is because cancer develops through stages and grows and spreads. If there are opportunities where the diagnosis of cancer is missed when it should have been spotted, it can mean it developing to a more advanced stage and growing and spreading to other parts of the body. A missed diagnosis can mean the difference between catching the cancer before it spreads and the cancer having spread and grown to such an extent that little can be done to help the patient.

Typical ways that medical professionals fail to spot cancer when they should are when they fail to take notice of symptoms and warning signs, when adequate investigation of symptoms is not carried out or they don’t arrange for adequate investigations, when they fail to advise a patient to return if the symptoms persist, change or get worse, or when X-rays, scans, smears or tissue samples are misinterpreted or they are carried out on the wrong part of the body.

The most common types of cancer that see delayed diagnosis are:

  • Bowel cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphoma

Failing to spot cancer in time isn’t the only example of medical negligence when it comes to cancer. On some occasions, patients are told that they have cancer, only to find out later that they don’t, perhaps when they have undergone a medical procedure to treat the nonexistent cancer. An example of this is a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer, an operation being carried out to remove the breast, only then to find out that she did not have breast cancer. Being told that you are terminally ill or that you are suffering from cancer when you are in fact not can have serious psychological effects on people.

If you believe that you or a loved one have been the victim of medical negligence regarding cancer, or of any other type of medical or clinical negligence then please have a read of our “guide to clinical and medical negligence” which provides more information about making a claim, or give us a call on 01782 713 755. We offer a personal service and will meet with you, go through your records and discuss with you face to face the strengths and weaknesses of your claim. We will help you decide whether or not you should proceed with a claim. Pursuing a claim can be extremely complicated and there are time limits involved so it is important to speak to us as soon as you can.

Agree? Disagree? Do let Cooks Solicitors know what you think by commenting below.

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