Written by

Rebecca Kelly - Associate Solicitor

Cancer misdiagnosis is believed to be on the rise. According to an All Can report, 4 in 10 patients receive the wrong diagnosis before they are correctly diagnosed. Whilst the NHS reportedly completes two million urgent cancer tests a year, and the majority of these are successful in identifying cancer, unfortunately sometimes delays, mistakes and misdiagnosis can occur.

Cancer is a devastating disease. But it can have an even greater impact when your treatment is delayed, doctors misinterpret your results or you receive substandard care. If you have experienced any of this during your treatment, then you could be entitled to make a claim.

What are cancer compensation claims?

Making a claim can seem overwhelming, especially when you are already dealing with cancer. However, medical negligence lawyers can manage the claim for you.

You can make a claim for cancer compensation if you have received the wrong cancer diagnosis, suffered a late diagnosis of cancer or have been mistreated for your cancer. Claims can be made against the NHS or private health institutions.

Delays in treatment or poor quality care can be distressing and can also have an impact on the outcome of your condition.

Cancer misdiagnosis

Cancer misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional delivers the wrong cancer diagnosis. This could mean that they diagnose your cancer symptoms as another illness or miss your symptoms entirely. For example, throat cancer may have similar symptoms to tonsillitis.  

There are 200 types of cancer and many of them have similar symptoms with other illnesses, so in some cases, medical professionals may misdiagnose your symptoms.

Misdiagnosis is harmful as it may lead to you receiving the wrong treatment for your specific cancer or your symptoms may even be dismissed and left untreated.

Bowel cancer misdiagnosis 

 Due to the nature of the disease, bowel cancer can be difficult to diagnose. This is because the symptoms do not tend to show until the cancer is in the latter stages of its development. Patients can sometimes be misdiagnosed with less serious bowel issues, such as inflammatory bowel diseases and haemorrhoids. This can mean bowel cancer is missed and enabled to develop to a point where it is no longer treatable.  

Delayed or late diagnosis of cancer

When you’re suffering from a life-threatening disease, it can feel unbearable having to wait for appointments, scans and test results. However, there are guidelines that the NHS has put in place to make sure that cancer patients get treated quickly.

If your doctor suspects that you have symptoms related to cancer, then they may arrange for you to have an urgent referral. In the UK this means that you should see a specialist doctor within 2 weeks.

The NHS has also set targets to make sure you are treated within a reasonable time. They aim to begin treatment no longer than 2 months after receiving the urgent referral. They also aim to leave no longer than 31 days between meeting with your doctor to decide the treatment plan and beginning the treatment.

The NHS is currently working towards the Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS). FDS aims to reduce the delayed diagnosis of cancer however, you may still experience a delay. The FDS means that if you have had a 2-week urgent referral or have been sent through the urgent screening program pathway then you should be treated within 28 days.

If your diagnosis or treatment has taken much longer than the above deadlines then you may be eligible to make a claim. Speak to a legal advisor at Patient Claim Line on 0330 107 5328 for free advice.

Examples of medical negligence cases that involve cancer claims

Every case is different, depending on the treatment people have received and the impact it has had on their life. At Patient Claim Line, we work tirelessly to understand our customer’s individual experience and help them get the justice that they deserve.

Here are some examples of people we have represented for cancer claims (names have been removed for confidential purposes)

Compensation for wrong cancer treatment

A 77-year-old man received £12,500 in cancer misdiagnosis compensation after he was wrongly treated with 3 rounds of chemotherapy.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in Essex misdiagnosed the 77-year-old man, who had prostate cancer, with bladder cancer leading to the incorrect treatment. The misdiagnosis meant that there was a delay in the correct treatment and a lot of pain and suffering was caused.

Misdiagnosis of cancer compensation

A man from Gateshead received an out of court settlement for cancer misdiagnosis.

The man, who does not want to be named, was given antibiotics for neck pain and a lump on his back by his GP. Over a year later, due to his persisting pain, the man visited a different doctor where he was urgently referred for a scan.

It took over 18 months of pain, loss of earnings and negative psychological effects until the man was diagnosed with Stage 4 Grade ½ follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.and his lump removed.

Missed diagnosis of cancer compensation

A family received a seven-figure sum in compensation after their father paid the ultimate price due to missed prostate cancer diagnosis.

The family went through a painful journey before they were given the diagnosis of the father’s prostate cancer. The father’s doctors confused his symptoms with other illnesses, meaning that he experienced a missed diagnosis of cancer. The process, which lasted years meant that the father’s cancer had sadly become terminal.

Our team’s work meant that the family received compensation after the father’s passing. Though nothing can ever truly compensate for the loss of a loved one, the family received an apology from the doctor which was very important to the family. The cancer misdiagnosis claim amount has allowed the family to feel more secure and diminish financial worries for the future. 

At Patient Claim Line, we understand the distress and devastation that can be caused by delayed or inappropriate cancer treatment.

If you think you’ve experienced failures in your cancer care, then speak to one of our friendly legal advisors today on 0330 107 5323 or fill out our easy-to-use contact form to begin your claim. You can also find out more information about medical negligence claims in our medical negligence guide.

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