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Home > Personal Injury > Medical Negligence > Misdiagnosis > Delayed diagnosis of cancer

Delayed diagnosis of cancer

Provision of cancer treatment in the UK

The provision of cancer treatment in the UK has significantly improved in recent years, and a successful outcome is now much more likely.

Occasionally however, a patient will not have their cancer correctly diagnosed when they first seek medical advice, meaning a delayed diagnosis until they are seen by another doctor or the cancer comes to light as a result of hospital treatment for a non-related condition. Delay in the right treatment at the right time can fundamentally undermine the chances of achieving a successful outcome and sometimes can be fatal.

Clear Answers specialist medical negligence lawyers have successfully fought hundreds of compensation claims for clients who have suffered as a result of delayed referrals for all types of cancer ranging from several months to over a year, for example, breast cancer, bowel cancer or lung cancer. They will be happy to discuss your claim for medical negligence compensation without obligation.

Delayed diagnosis of cancer news

Clear Answers’ specialist medical negligence solicitors deal with a large number of all types of medical negligence claims, including those that result from a delay in a patient's diagnosis of cancer, and where the delay has caused a change to the outcome.

Our specialist personal injury solicitors also successfully conclude thousands of personal injury and accident compensation claims each year. Details of some of these successful compensation claims can be found in our Personal Injury News Section, which is updated regularly.

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Please select one of the links below to read more and to see whether Clear Answers can help you make a claim for medical negligence compensation.

Types of cancer and their diagnosis

There are many types of cancer, depending upon which part of the body, or parts of the body, are affected. Accurate diagnosis relies upon analysis of various scientific tests and through the interpretation of symptoms by Oncologists, specialists in the treatment of cancer.

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Key factors in delayed diagnosis

Although a delay could happen at any time, the first key event when a delay might occur is when a patient visits a GP with symptoms that are causing them concern. The GP not considering the symptoms are cancer related and treating the patient for an alternative condition can mean a potentially critical delay even if further visits to the GP lead to a correct diagnosis.

The second occasion when a delay may occur is when the GP correctly considers that the symptoms may be indicating cancer and refer the patient to a consultant for further tests and investigation but the consultant doesn’t immediately consider that cancer is the cause and sends the patient away without treatment or even a follow-up appointment.

However, there are also instances when a patient is diagnosed with cancer when this is not the case. Misdiagnosis is traumatic for the patient and family and although the eventual outcome is good news there is a risk of anxiety and depression for all involved.

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The result of delayed cancer treatment

If untreated, the cancer, or tumour, can grow. This means that when a correct diagnosis is confirmed the tumour may have become so large that it is inoperable.

The delay may also mean that the cancer has time to spread to other parts of the body, a process known as metastasizing, meaning that secondary tumours have formed. In many cases this makes it more difficult to remove the cancer completely.

Even if surgery is still a viable option, it is likely that where chemotherapy may not have been necessary had the tumour been removed when very small, the increased size means that both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, with unpleasant side-effects for the patient, will be required.

In some cases, the time will have passed when any treatment is possible and the patient will be told that their condition is terminal.

It is impossible to determine a time that would apply to everyone when the omission of treatment will have an effect on the possible outcome. It will depend upon the type of cancer and how aggressive it is and the patient’s underlying health condition.

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Proving a delay in cancer diagnosis has changed the outcome

In order to claim compensation for the effects of a delay in diagnosis, the test is whether an earlier diagnosis would have led to earlier treatment and to a different outcome. It is not sufficient that the delay caused an increase in the chance of an unsuccessful outcome.

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Making a medical negligence claim for delayed cancer diagnosis

Clear Answers' Solicitors are experts in all matters relating to medical negligence and are very experienced in dealing with claims relating to delayed diagnosis. They will be able to advise you whether you have a valid compensation claim and our specialist medical negligence lawyers will be happy to talk you through the process in plain English as well as answering any questions or queries you may have.

Have you or a member of your family suffered as a result of medical negligence such as delayed diagnosis? For more information about our service or for advice about whether we can assist you with a medical negligence compensation claim contact us today on 0800 783 9019 or complete our online compensation claim form. A representative will contact you (without obligation) as soon as possible.

Strict time limits apply for making a personal injury compensation claim, so please seek expert legal advice as soon as you think you may have a valid claim for compensation.

Please visit our section on information and advice for more details on making a personal injury compensation claim.

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