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Thyroid Cancer Misdiagnosis

If thyroid cancer is misdiagnosed or not treated correctly it can have very serious consequences for you and your family.

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I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much

Mrs E.Swaffield
Loughborough

Claiming for thyroid cancer negligence

Medical negligence whilst uncommon can have a big impact on your life and wellbeing.

The prognosis for thyroid cancer is often very good for patients diagnosed with the disease in the UK and patients generally receive an excellent level of care. However, that doesn’t make a cancer diagnosis any less terrifying for those involved and, unfortunately, a few will find the treatment they receive from the healthcare system is up to the appropriate standard. If you think that you have had poor care whilst you have been suffering from thyroid cancer you may be able to bring a medical negligence claim.

For those that have experienced thyroid cancer misdiagnosis, matters can be made all the worse at what is already a very difficult time. You should be able to rely on those responsible for your care to provide the treatment and advice you need when you have thyroid cancer, if this hasn’t been the case, you may be able to make a missed thyroid cancer diagnosis compensation claim. We know that investigating a claim against you doctors can seem like a daunting prospect but we will help and support you. With the guidance of our specialist medical negligence solicitors we will work to ensure the best possible outcome for your failure to diagnose or delay in diagnosis claim.

Successfully claiming compensation after experiencing misdiagnosis of thyroid cancer won’t undo the harm that it’s already caused but it can help you in the future and could lead to the hospital changing the way that they work so it does not happen to anyone else. If you’re struggling to understand what went wrong and to move forward as a result, a claim could give you the answers you need. Missed thyroid cancer diagnosis compensation can also support you financially if you need to take extra time off work or require further treatment, for example.

The time limit on making a thyroid cancer claim

Late diagnosis of thyroid cancer compensation claims have a time limit on when a patient can bring them forward, like all medical claims. From the ‘date of knowledge’ usually the date of diagnosis you have 3 years to take make a claim. The term ‘date of knowledge’ can make it difficult to understand whether you have a claim that falls within the 3-year period in some cases. It essentially refers to the point that you first realised that you had been misdiagnosed, received a poor level of treatment, or were affected by medical negligence in another way.

For some people, especially if they have been involved in a long and complex case, it can be difficult to work out when the ‘date of knowledge’ occurred. If you’re unsure we can help you pinpoint the beginning of your timeframe and advise you on what your next steps should be if you want to make a compensation for delayed diagnosis claim.

While you do have 3 years to make a claim in Court, we advise that you start the investigation as soon as possible. We know that after a failure to diagnose thyroid cancer you have other worries and priorities on your mind but starting sooner rather than later could help you receive financial compensation that could act as a support as you recover or undergo further treatment. In order to support thyroid cancer misdiagnosis claims our specialist medical negligence solicitors will work on your behalf to gather evidence, such as medical records, and you will need to provide a witness statement. These steps are often easier to complete the quicker the compensation process starts.

If you do not claim within the set time period, your claim will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’ and will unfortunately not be taken further. There are two exceptions to this rule, in the case of children and if the negligence directly led to a fatality. In these cases suing the NHS for negligence is still possible as the date on which time begins to run is the date of the child’s 18th birthday, and in the case of fatalities, from the date of death.

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Our medical negligence team has years of experience working on a wide variety of cancer negligence cases so we understand just how difficult a decision it can be to bring a thyroid cancer negligence case.

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That’s why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by our specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts, to guarantee the best results for you.

Our thyroid cancer negligence team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high value thyroid cancer negligence cases.

Laura is recognised within the legal profession as a leader in the field of medical negligence and serious injury compensation. Laura has acted in a wide range of cases over her 17 years of practice and has particular expertise in acting for children who have suffered brain injury due to mismanaged birth or surgical errors, and in managing claims that have resulted in the death of a loved one. Laura has achieved a number of large settlements including £5.4 million for a 7 year old and £4 million for an 11 year old child.

Laura’s expertise and dedication to her clients is recognised in the Chambers guide to the Legal Profession in which she was praised for the efficiency of her approach to case handling and described as “tenacious and detail-oriented”.

Laura has been a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel since 2005 and accredited as a Senior Litigator in the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) since 2006. Laura is also a member of the specialist lawyers panel for Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the UK’s leading charity committed to patient safety and justice.

If you’d like advice as to whether you might be able to pursue a cancer negligence claim, either call our freephone number 0151 550 5228 or submit your details through the form on this page and we’ll be in touch to schedule a phone call at a time that’s convenient for you. If you decide that you’d like to start a claim, one of our medical malpractice lawyers will be able to tell you whether you can enter into a No Win, No Fee agreement*, meaning that in the event that your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay any legal costs so there’s no financial risk to you.

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The effects of medical negligence can be devastating for the individual and their families, so securing appropriate compensation for them as quickly as possible is our top priority.

Laura Morgan

Director of Medical Negligence

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10 simple steps to claim

Step
1
Obtaining your medical records
Step
2
Providing your statement of what happened
Step
3
Minimising your loss
Step
4
Establishing that a breach of duty occurred
Step
5
Estabilishing the effect of the breach of duty
Step
86
Preparing your case for CourtCalculating the value of your claim
Step
7
Proving your loss
Step
68
Calculating the value of your claimPreparing your case for Court
Step
9
Attending the trial in Court
Step
10
Awarding your compensation claim

Your questions... answered

Can I claim for thyroid cancer misdiagnosis?

If you had thyroid cancer that your GP or other health professionals failed to spot or treat as necessary you may be able to make a claim for medical negligence. The misdiagnosis of thyroid cancer is serious because if left untreated the tumour can grow, affect other parts of the body, and impact on the effectiveness of treatment, including a cure no longer being possible.

In order to make a successful thyroid cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim you will need to be able to prove that doctors failed you and perhaps missed opportunities to make an accurate diagnosis. You have to go on to show that as a result you have suffered a worse outcome. Thyroid cancer misdiagnosis can occur for a number of reasons, including:

• A GP failing to recognise the signs or symptoms of thyroid cancer and not ordering more tests or referring you on as a result.
• A delay in the necessary tests for a diagnosis being completed.
• The results of a test indicating abnormalities but healthcare professionals failing to follow this up.
• A biopsy not being ordered or the results being read incorrectly.

Read less

How much compensation will I get?

Compensation for delayed diagnosis varies from case to case. Each claim depends upon the pain and suffering that the individual patient has experienced and what financial losses have been incurred by them ion the past and are likely in the future. When you choose to work with Your Legal Friend we’ll work with you to understand you situation and how the misdiagnosis has affected you.

The value will take a range of factors into consideration, from how it affected the treatment options open to you, to expenses you may have had to pay as a result and if you have been unable to work or your return to work delayed. Without knowing the details of your case it’s impossible to say how much your thyroid cancer misdiagnosis compensation could be if you have a successful claim. However, our team are on hand to talk you through the process and help you understand what a claim could achieve.

How long do I have to make a claim?

If you’ve been affected by misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis when you’ve had thyroid cancer you may be able to make a claim for compensation. However, you must do so within 3 years from the ‘date of knowledge’ or the point at which you realised there had been mistakes in your case, this is often the date on which you were finally diagnosed. For some, it can be difficult to identify where the time limit begins, especially in complex cases, but we can help you understand your compensation for delayed thyroid cancer diagnosis case and take the next steps.

To investigate your case we will need to prepare a witness statement for you and obtain documents, such as medical records and scans. For this reason, we recommend that you start the investigation as soon as possible,. When you are recovering from cancer we will not add any unnecessary stress.

What is thyroid cancer?

All cancer occurs when the DNA of the cells change, resulting in uncontrollable cell growth that leads to lumps or tumours. There are some causes of thyroid cancer that can be identified but it’s not usually possible to identify the exact cause of what has affected the DNA of the cells. Among the risk factors for thyroid cancer are:

• Other thyroid conditions – Some thyroid conditions can lead to an increased risk of developing the disease, including an inflamed thyroid, also known as thyroiditis, or goitre. However, an overactive or underactive thyroid does not increase the chance of the disease developing.
• Family history – One of the thyroid cancer causes is family history. Having a close relative that has also had the disease indicates you’re more likely to develop thyroid cancer.
• Radiation exposure – Being exposed to radiation in childhood can also increase the risk. This could include having radiotherapy as treatment for other forms of cancer.
• Obesity – Being obese has been linked as a one of the potential causes of thyroid cancer.

Other risks factors include having other medical conditions, such as acromegaly and familial adenomatous polyposis. Most cases of thyroid cancer affect people between the ages of 20 and 55 and females are more likely to develop the disease.

Read less

What are the symptoms of thyroid cancer?

There are several thyroid cancer symptoms that mean you should visit your GP. However, they tend to develop slowly and during the earliest stages there are often no signs of thyroid cancer at all. The most common symptom is a lump in the front of the neck. The lump is likely to feel firm, get bigger over time, and be painless. While just 1 in 20 thyroid swellings turn out to be cancer, it’s important to get the symptom checked out.

Other signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer are:

• Swollen glands in the neck
• Unexplained hoarseness that doesn’t get better after a few weeks
• A sore throat that doesn’t improve
• Pain in your neck
• Difficulty swallowing
• Breathing difficulties

There are also thyroid cancer signs that are caused by the thyroid producing hormones differently. While rare, these can include diarrhoea and flushing.

Read less

How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?

When you initially visit your GP with the signs of thyroid cancer they should ask about the symptoms and how long they have persisted. They will also examine your neck, including any lump or swellings you may have. The symptoms are unlikely to be cancer and a blood test is usually ordered first if they think you have a thyroid problem.

The blood test for thyroid cancer doesn’t just assess the possibility of cancer, it will check the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. Abnormal levels usually indicate that the gland is underactive or overactive. Further tests, such as an ultrasound scan, will be carried out to view the thyroid gland.

If the gland could be cancerous a biopsy will be performed to get a thyroid cancer diagnosis. This involves removing a small sample of cells from the lump on your neck to study in a lab. After diagnosing thyroid cancer it’s important for doctors to then conduct thyroid cancer staging to assess how developed the cancer is and whether or not it has spread. Treatment can vary depending on the stage of the cancer and tests to assess it usually include a CT scan or MRI scan.


Can thyroid cancer be misdiagnosed?

During the early stages of thyroid cancer it is easy for a delayed diagnosis to occur, as symptoms aren’t usually present or they are associated with other conditions. In order to diagnose thyroid cancer a biopsy must be conducted, which will only be ordered if a doctor already suspects the disease. For this reason, it’s possible for misdiagnosed thyroid cancer to occur as it relies on the GP spotting the initial signs. Even if blood tests or ultrasound scans are ordered these not give a definitive diagnosis.

Some conditions that thyroid cancer may be misdiagnosed as include:

• Lyme disease
• Thyroid conditions – such as an underactive thyroid or overactive thyroid
• Thyroid nodule
• Benign multi-nodular goiter

How is thyroid cancer treated?

Thyroid cancer treatment will depend on the type of thyroid cancer you have and how advanced the disease is when it’s diagnosed. Your treatment for thyroid cancer will be the responsibility of a team of specialists that will work together to create a plan that best suits you. As well as the cancer, the team will consider other factors, such as your general health.

Treatment of thyroid cancer typically involves one, or a combination of, the following options:

• Surgery
Most types of thyroid cancer will have surgery as their first treatment option and it can include removing just part of the thyroid gland or the whole gland, in some cases it may also be necessary to remove nearby lymph nodes. Papillary carcinoma and follicular carcinoma are usually treated with surgery followed by radioactive iodine treatment, as is medullary thyroid carcinoma.

 

• Radioactive iodine treatment
One of the thyroid cancer treatment options is radioactive iodine treatment, which is often recommended after surgery has been completed. The treatment works by destroying cancerous cells that remain in the body and is used to reduce the risk of the disease returning. The treatment is delivered in either a liquid or capsule form that patients swallow.

• External radiotherapy
Where radioactive iodine treatment isn’t suitable or has been unsuccessful, external radiotherapy may be considered. Where thyroid cancer has become advanced and surgery or a cure isn’t an option, it can also be used as a way to control the symptoms.

• Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy works by taking medication that kill cancerous cells. It doesn’t cure thyroid cancer and is now rarely used, as there are more effective alternatives available in many cases. Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma can’t usually be treated with surgery but radiotherapy and chemotherapy combined can be used to control the symptoms of the disease.

Read less

What are the different types of thyroid cancer?

There are a number of thyroid cancer types and the one that you have can significantly affect the treatment that will be best for you. The type of cancer you have is often identified after you’ve had a biopsy during the diagnosis process.

Around 90% of thyroid cancers are known as differentiated thyroid cancer, which are then split into two groups – papillary and follicular.

• Papillary thyroid cancer
This type of cancer usually grows slowly, meaning it can be sometime before the signs and symptoms of the disease are noticed and a diagnosis made. However, the cancer can sometimes spread to the nearby lymph nodes. It’s the most common type of thyroid cancer, accounting for around 80% of cases. It’s usually treated with a combination of surgery and radioactive iodine treatment.

• Follicular thyroid cancer
Follicular cancer accounts for only between 5% and 10% of diagnosed thyroid cancer cases, most commonly occurring in people that are middle aged. While it’s often treated in a similar way to papillary thyroid cancer it can grow more rapidly and sometimes spreads to other parts of the body, including the lungs and bones.

Medullary thyroid of cancer is rare, accounting for between 3 and 12 cases out of every 100, however, it’s inherited and a quarter of medullary cancer cases are passed on in families. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is another rare type, with just 3% of thyroid cases being diagnosed as this. Analplastic thyroid cancer is more common in women and older people and isn’t usually treatable with surgery.

What is the thyroid cancer survival rate?

There are more than 3,000 new cases of thyroid cancer each year in the UK and less than 1% of cases are preventable. However, the survival rate for thyroid cancer is good – in England 85% of people survive their diagnosis for more than a decade and 93% do so for a year.

Like all types of cancer, other factors affect the survival rate of thyroid cancer. The five-year survival rate is highest in the youngest men and women and decreases with age. For men aged under 40, 96% will survive their diagnosis for 5 years, while 40% will do so in the 80-99 age category.

The type of thyroid cancer you have also plays an important role in thyroid cancer life expectancy. According to statistics from Cancer Research UK, which used a study looking at thyroid cancer in Europe, 90% of men survive their cancer for 5 years or more if they are diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, while this falls to just 5% when diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer.

If you had thyroid cancer that your GP or other health professionals failed to spot or treat as necessary you may be able to make a claim for medical negligence. The misdiagnosis of thyroid cancer is serious because if left untreated the tumour can grow, affect other parts of the body, and impact on the effectiveness of treatment, including a cure no longer being possible.

In order to make a successful thyroid cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim you will need to be able to prove that doctors failed you and perhaps missed opportunities to make an accurate diagnosis. You have to go on to show that as a result you have suffered a worse outcome. Thyroid cancer misdiagnosis can occur for a number of reasons, including:

• A GP failing to recognise the signs or symptoms of thyroid cancer and not ordering more tests or referring you on as a result.
• A delay in the necessary tests for a diagnosis being completed.
• The results of a test indicating abnormalities but healthcare professionals failing to follow this up.
• A biopsy not being ordered or the results being read incorrectly.

Read less

Compensation for delayed diagnosis varies from case to case. Each claim depends upon the pain and suffering that the individual patient has experienced and what financial losses have been incurred by them ion the past and are likely in the future. When you choose to work with Your Legal Friend we’ll work with you to understand you situation and how the misdiagnosis has affected you.

The value will take a range of factors into consideration, from how it affected the treatment options open to you, to expenses you may have had to pay as a result and if you have been unable to work or your return to work delayed. Without knowing the details of your case it’s impossible to say how much your thyroid cancer misdiagnosis compensation could be if you have a successful claim. However, our team are on hand to talk you through the process and help you understand what a claim could achieve.

If you’ve been affected by misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis when you’ve had thyroid cancer you may be able to make a claim for compensation. However, you must do so within 3 years from the ‘date of knowledge’ or the point at which you realised there had been mistakes in your case, this is often the date on which you were finally diagnosed. For some, it can be difficult to identify where the time limit begins, especially in complex cases, but we can help you understand your compensation for delayed thyroid cancer diagnosis case and take the next steps.

To investigate your case we will need to prepare a witness statement for you and obtain documents, such as medical records and scans. For this reason, we recommend that you start the investigation as soon as possible,. When you are recovering from cancer we will not add any unnecessary stress.

All cancer occurs when the DNA of the cells change, resulting in uncontrollable cell growth that leads to lumps or tumours. There are some causes of thyroid cancer that can be identified but it’s not usually possible to identify the exact cause of what has affected the DNA of the cells. Among the risk factors for thyroid cancer are:

• Other thyroid conditions – Some thyroid conditions can lead to an increased risk of developing the disease, including an inflamed thyroid, also known as thyroiditis, or goitre. However, an overactive or underactive thyroid does not increase the chance of the disease developing.
• Family history – One of the thyroid cancer causes is family history. Having a close relative that has also had the disease indicates you’re more likely to develop thyroid cancer.
• Radiation exposure – Being exposed to radiation in childhood can also increase the risk. This could include having radiotherapy as treatment for other forms of cancer.
• Obesity – Being obese has been linked as a one of the potential causes of thyroid cancer.

Other risks factors include having other medical conditions, such as acromegaly and familial adenomatous polyposis. Most cases of thyroid cancer affect people between the ages of 20 and 55 and females are more likely to develop the disease.

Read less

There are several thyroid cancer symptoms that mean you should visit your GP. However, they tend to develop slowly and during the earliest stages there are often no signs of thyroid cancer at all. The most common symptom is a lump in the front of the neck. The lump is likely to feel firm, get bigger over time, and be painless. While just 1 in 20 thyroid swellings turn out to be cancer, it’s important to get the symptom checked out.

Other signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer are:

• Swollen glands in the neck
• Unexplained hoarseness that doesn’t get better after a few weeks
• A sore throat that doesn’t improve
• Pain in your neck
• Difficulty swallowing
• Breathing difficulties

There are also thyroid cancer signs that are caused by the thyroid producing hormones differently. While rare, these can include diarrhoea and flushing.

Read less

When you initially visit your GP with the signs of thyroid cancer they should ask about the symptoms and how long they have persisted. They will also examine your neck, including any lump or swellings you may have. The symptoms are unlikely to be cancer and a blood test is usually ordered first if they think you have a thyroid problem.

The blood test for thyroid cancer doesn’t just assess the possibility of cancer, it will check the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. Abnormal levels usually indicate that the gland is underactive or overactive. Further tests, such as an ultrasound scan, will be carried out to view the thyroid gland.

If the gland could be cancerous a biopsy will be performed to get a thyroid cancer diagnosis. This involves removing a small sample of cells from the lump on your neck to study in a lab. After diagnosing thyroid cancer it’s important for doctors to then conduct thyroid cancer staging to assess how developed the cancer is and whether or not it has spread. Treatment can vary depending on the stage of the cancer and tests to assess it usually include a CT scan or MRI scan.


During the early stages of thyroid cancer it is easy for a delayed diagnosis to occur, as symptoms aren’t usually present or they are associated with other conditions. In order to diagnose thyroid cancer a biopsy must be conducted, which will only be ordered if a doctor already suspects the disease. For this reason, it’s possible for misdiagnosed thyroid cancer to occur as it relies on the GP spotting the initial signs. Even if blood tests or ultrasound scans are ordered these not give a definitive diagnosis.

Some conditions that thyroid cancer may be misdiagnosed as include:

• Lyme disease
• Thyroid conditions – such as an underactive thyroid or overactive thyroid
• Thyroid nodule
• Benign multi-nodular goiter

Thyroid cancer treatment will depend on the type of thyroid cancer you have and how advanced the disease is when it’s diagnosed. Your treatment for thyroid cancer will be the responsibility of a team of specialists that will work together to create a plan that best suits you. As well as the cancer, the team will consider other factors, such as your general health.

Treatment of thyroid cancer typically involves one, or a combination of, the following options:

• Surgery
Most types of thyroid cancer will have surgery as their first treatment option and it can include removing just part of the thyroid gland or the whole gland, in some cases it may also be necessary to remove nearby lymph nodes. Papillary carcinoma and follicular carcinoma are usually treated with surgery followed by radioactive iodine treatment, as is medullary thyroid carcinoma.

 

• Radioactive iodine treatment
One of the thyroid cancer treatment options is radioactive iodine treatment, which is often recommended after surgery has been completed. The treatment works by destroying cancerous cells that remain in the body and is used to reduce the risk of the disease returning. The treatment is delivered in either a liquid or capsule form that patients swallow.

• External radiotherapy
Where radioactive iodine treatment isn’t suitable or has been unsuccessful, external radiotherapy may be considered. Where thyroid cancer has become advanced and surgery or a cure isn’t an option, it can also be used as a way to control the symptoms.

• Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy works by taking medication that kill cancerous cells. It doesn’t cure thyroid cancer and is now rarely used, as there are more effective alternatives available in many cases. Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma can’t usually be treated with surgery but radiotherapy and chemotherapy combined can be used to control the symptoms of the disease.

Read less

There are a number of thyroid cancer types and the one that you have can significantly affect the treatment that will be best for you. The type of cancer you have is often identified after you’ve had a biopsy during the diagnosis process.

Around 90% of thyroid cancers are known as differentiated thyroid cancer, which are then split into two groups – papillary and follicular.

• Papillary thyroid cancer
This type of cancer usually grows slowly, meaning it can be sometime before the signs and symptoms of the disease are noticed and a diagnosis made. However, the cancer can sometimes spread to the nearby lymph nodes. It’s the most common type of thyroid cancer, accounting for around 80% of cases. It’s usually treated with a combination of surgery and radioactive iodine treatment.

• Follicular thyroid cancer
Follicular cancer accounts for only between 5% and 10% of diagnosed thyroid cancer cases, most commonly occurring in people that are middle aged. While it’s often treated in a similar way to papillary thyroid cancer it can grow more rapidly and sometimes spreads to other parts of the body, including the lungs and bones.

Medullary thyroid of cancer is rare, accounting for between 3 and 12 cases out of every 100, however, it’s inherited and a quarter of medullary cancer cases are passed on in families. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is another rare type, with just 3% of thyroid cases being diagnosed as this. Analplastic thyroid cancer is more common in women and older people and isn’t usually treatable with surgery.

There are more than 3,000 new cases of thyroid cancer each year in the UK and less than 1% of cases are preventable. However, the survival rate for thyroid cancer is good – in England 85% of people survive their diagnosis for more than a decade and 93% do so for a year.

Like all types of cancer, other factors affect the survival rate of thyroid cancer. The five-year survival rate is highest in the youngest men and women and decreases with age. For men aged under 40, 96% will survive their diagnosis for 5 years, while 40% will do so in the 80-99 age category.

The type of thyroid cancer you have also plays an important role in thyroid cancer life expectancy. According to statistics from Cancer Research UK, which used a study looking at thyroid cancer in Europe, 90% of men survive their cancer for 5 years or more if they are diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, while this falls to just 5% when diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer.