A 40 year old woman who suffered a 10 month delay in diagnosis of breast cancer required a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. She was awarded:
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Did you know that it’s estimated that one in ten cases of cancer are initially misdiagnosed? The misdiagnosis of cancer poses a serious issue to those that have the disease, potentially meaning that the cancer is allowed to develop and spread, becoming more difficult to treat or untreatable.
But that’s not the only way that misdiagnosed cancer cases can affect patients. It can leave those experiencing misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer feeling vulnerable, let down by the system, and unsure of where to turn to for support. Those who are suffering should be able to rely on the health care system and those responsible for their care and treatment to meet standards, including taking all reasonable steps to diagnose and treat cancer. Where this hasn’t occurred, it may be possible for patients to seek misdiagnosis of cancer compensation to reflect their suffering.
Here at Your Legal Friend we have supported those taking medical negligence claims forward. We know that compensation can’t undo the experiences associated with cancer misdiagnosis but it can help you move forward. If you’re seeking answers and want to understand what went wrong in your case, a cancer malpractice claim may be able to help you find these. If successful, it will also give you financial compensation, alleviating money worries and allowing you to focus on what really matters – your treatment, recovery, and spending time with loved ones.
Starting a misdiagnosed cancer claim can seem like a daunting prospect but with the support of our legal team and cancer misdiagnosis lawyers, we’ll ensure it goes as smoothly as possible and work on your behalf to secure the best outcome in your case.
If you believe that you have a cancer malpractice compensation claim and you would like to take it forward, there is a three-year time limit that you should be aware of.
While you do have three years to bring the case to court, we recommend that those affected by cancer misdiagnosis, or any other form of medical negligence, start the process as soon as possible. This has a number of benefits for both you and your case. It takes time to investigate your case and to get expert evidence to support it, the sooner that you start the process the quicker it can be concluded, giving you the answers that you’ve been looking for and access to financial compensation that can take money worries off your mind.
In terms of supporting your case, starting sooner can make it simpler to gather evidence that will back your claims and the compensation amount. This evidence often includes documents that are easier to obtain closer to the time they happened. Supporting documents may include medical records, diagnostic test results, scans and reports. You and others will also be asked to provide witness statements and details will be clearer the sooner they are given too.
It’s important to note that the timeframe for making a medical claim doesn’t start when you first visit your doctor with concerns but from the ‘date of knowledge’. This term refers to the point when you were first diagnosed . In some cases, identifying the starting point of the timeframe can be a challenge but with our support we can help you understand how long you have to make a claim.
If you would like help in pinpointing the ‘date of knowledge’ in your case or have any other questions about misdiagnosis of cancer compensation, Your Legal Friend is on hand to offer guidance and advice.
Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way
I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent. Thank you very much.
Mrs E. Swaffield
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 cancer negligence case.
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 medical negligence team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high value cancer negligence cases.
You can read one of our clients' stories here. We helped Mr Williams get the answers he deserved and receive the maximum possible compensation after a breach of duty led to his wife's death from lung cancer.
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 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.
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.
Director of Medical Negligence
Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win
Whatever the nature of your cancer negligence claim, we always seek the maximum level of compensation for our clients – and if your case is unsuccessful, we don’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard cancer negligence claims.
With our no win, no fee guarantee, you pay nothing, unless you win your compensation claim. At that point you will only pay your insurance premium, if applicable, and the success fee, which will never be more than 25% of the amount you win.
We ask you to sign forms of authority so that we can obtain your medical records from your GP and any hospitals that have treated you.
As the medical experts we instruct need to know what happened during your treatment, we work with you to draft a detailed, accurate statement in your own words.
You are responsible for minimising the losses you have incurred as a result of the alleged medical negligence, so you need to attend any available treatments that could aid your recovery. You may also need to return to work as soon as it’s safe to do so.
You must prove that the treatment you received fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent and skilful medical specialist of the type who treated you and that, as a result, you suffered a loss or injury. To do this, we obtain independent medical evidence from an expert in the appropriate area of medicine.
We have to establish whether the sub-standard treatment you received is likely to have led to your injury or loss. As this can be difficult to establish, you may need to see one or more medical experts who will assess your current condition and what the future holds for you.
The value of your claim comprises:
You need to keep all original financial documents safe as these will be needed when we prepare your case to go to Court. These documents include accounts, payslips, and receipts for expenses and medical treatments.
Although only a small number of cases proceed to a trial, we prepare every case for this eventuality.
The trial takes place before a Circuit or High Court judge who will make a decision based on the evidence we have prepared.
If you win your case, the amount of compensation will be decided by negotiation with the defendant or, if your case goes to trial, by the judge. The defendant will usually be ordered to pay us the costs we have incurred in preparing your case. We will also agree a date by which your compensation will be paid to us so that we can pay your compensation as quickly as possible.
If you’ve been affected by medical negligence when suffering with cancer you may be able to bring a misdiagnosed cancer claim. To do so you must be able to prove that there were missed opportunities to diagnose the disease earlier and that the delays resulted in additional suffering.
To demonstrate that there was a delay in the diagnosis of cancer, you have to show that the treatment or investigations in your case were not performed to a reasonable standard. This could include your GP failing to recognise that your symptoms could be cancer, or failing to conduct the necessary examinations or order tests, or even misreporting investigations that you have undergone. Even after a referral with suspicions of cancer your specialist may have provided incorrect advice or delayed in referral for treatment or even misinterpreted, results or abnormalities not followed up.
There are multiple ways to shows that a later cancer diagnosis was the result of medical negligence and you being let down by those responsible for your care and treatment.
Claims for misdiagnosis must also show that the mistakes made have caused additional suffering. Again, this can take different forms; avoidable pain, unnecessary treatments, avoidable cancer spread or even shortened life expectancy.
Each cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim is very different and our team recognises this. We take the time to listen to how you’ve been affected and build a case from there, reflecting your experiences. If you would like to discuss your potential misdiagnosed cancer claim with a team of friendly professionals, you can contact us. We’ll help you understand if you could claim for cancer misdiagnosis and, if you do, support you in taking the next steps to securing the justice that you deserve.
The amount of compensation individuals receive for cancer misdiagnosis compensation claims varies, as the final amount takes a variety of factors into consideration. However, the amount can total thousands.
In 2014 the NHS paid out over £194 million to patients that had been affected by medical negligence, paying out the equivalent of £4 million a week. Over the course of 2014, 1,302 patients won their cases against the healthcare system. Of these cases a tenth were related a doctor misdiagnosing cancer. It’s estimated that blunders of medical staff cause 12,500 deaths in the NHS every year, including through misdiagnosis, but it can also have other effects too, such as the need for more extensive surgery or intensive treatment.
The way the compensation process works means that there can be vast differences in the amounts patients receive. For instance, if a doctor misdiagnosed cancer which resulted in the disease becoming untreatable before it was discovered, this patient is likely to receive a greater sum than a patient who experiences a delay in cancer diagnosis and now requires treatment over a longer period of time.
If you decide to bring a medical negligence claim because you have received poor cancer treatment the amount of compensation you could be awarded depends upon your individual circumstances. Factors that impact upon the amount of compensation include additional pain and suffering caused, as a result of the delay in diagnosis or treatment and financial costs you have experienced; such as going back to work later than you would have liked, being less able to look after you family, needing changes to your home or even car. When you choose to work with Your Legal Friend, our experts and specialist medical negligence lawyers will take the time to fully understand your experience analysis the evidence and instruct the best experts to investigate your case. While it’s impossible to give you an amount without fully understanding your cases, you can talk to one of our advisors to learn more and take the next steps.
If you would like to make a claim for cancer misdiagnosis or late cancer diagnosis you must do so within a three-year time period.
This starting point of this timeframe begins when you first realise that you have been let down by the healthcare system, in legal terms this is referred to as the ‘date of knowledge’. This is usually the date on which you cancer is diagnosed. For those who have not been diagnosed with cancer until much later, this means that they have a longer period to bring forward a claim, rather than if the starting point was when you first had concerns.
Identifying the ‘date of knowledge’ can be confusing. For some people it will be a simple process to pinpoint but in other cases it can be quite complex. If you’re unsure whether you can take a claim forward and how long you have left to do so, speaking to a legal professional can help. Backed by experience of working on medical negligence claims, our team can help you understand your misdiagnosed cancer case. We’ll take the time to listen to your experiences and help you identify both if you have a case that can be brought forward and when you must do it by.
While you have a maximum of three years to start your claim in Court it’s often advisable to start the process sooner.
We know that after discovering you have cancer, undergoing treatment, or recovering, bringing a medical negligence claim will be the last thing on your mind. But taking action and seeking professional advice sooner can help improve your chances of success. Every case needs to be supported by factual evidence and this will typically include a witness statement from you. Doing this part of the claims process as close to the ‘date of knowledge’ as possible means that the history of your symptoms, the detail about your experience are clearer. Other evidence, such as medical records, scan and investigations will be easier to obtain too.
Cancer is caused is by cells within the body beginning to act abnormally due to changes in the DNA of these cells. The cells begin to multiply uncontrollably and form masses known as tumours. Not all tumours are cancerous; those that aren’t are referred to as benign.
In some cases, there are causes of cancer linked to lifestyle choices and carcinogens, substances that are capable of causing cancer. However, not everyone who is exposed to causes or risk factors develop cancer and it’s unknown why the disease only develops in a small number of people. In many cases, it’s it not possible to identify the reasons why cells have become cancerous.
Despite this, it’s estimated that around 42% of cancer cases in the UK are preventable, in some cases this is linked to lifestyle choices. The biggest lifestyle factor that can lead to cancer is smoking. Other issues include obesity, poor diet, consuming too much alcohol, and not protecting the skin from the sun.
Causes of cancer vary depending on the type of cancer diagnosed. As well as lifestyle choices there are other potential causes too, including exposure to radiation and certain chemicals that may be found in the workplace, such as asbestos. Being exposed to a cause of cancer, for instance if you smoke, doesn’t necessarily mean that the disease will develop.
Risk factors don’t cause cancer but can indicate that a person is more likely to develop the disease. Risk factors vary between the types of cancers but can include inherited faulty genes, pre-existing medical conditions, and ageing. While having risk factors of cancer does mean you’re more likely to develop cancer, in many cases those diagnosed don’t have any known risk factors.
You may also hear about possible risk factors. These are factors that have been linked to cancer but more research and evidence is needed to support the claims.
It is possible for all types of cancer to be misdiagnosed, in fact, it’s estimated that up to 10% of cancer cases are initially linked to other conditions. A delayed diagnosis of cancer can have a serious impact on the outcome of treatment, affecting what options are likely to be successful and the prognosis.
In many cases of cancer, the symptoms are initially mild and progressively worsen as the disease develops and spreads. This means that if you visit a doctor during the early stages a misdiagnosis of cancer can occur because the signs and symptoms of cancer are instead linked to other, typically less serious conditions. A quick diagnosis or referral for specialist investigations is important as in most types of cancers the survival rates decline as the tumour grows and spreads.
A swift diagnosis often relies on the doctor considering cancer as a differential diagnosis at your first appointment. That doctor would need to recognise that your symptoms could be more sinister and ordering tests to rule out other causes. If your GP doesn’t conduct the necessary examinations, order the necessary tests to start the diagnosis process, or link the cancer signs to the disease; a delay in cancer diagnosis can happen. As a result, misdiagnosed cancer can have serious complications, for instance, more drastic surgery being required to completely remove the tumour, radiotherapy that could have been avoided or longer courses of chemotherapy.
Cancer misdiagnosis can also occur in other ways too. For instance, if the necessary tests for an accurate diagnosis are read incorrectly or if abnormalities in results are not followed up. These examples of how misdiagnosed cancer can occur are due to medical negligence and those affected may be able to make a misdiagnosis of cancer compensation claim.
Cancer survival rates vary hugely between different types of the disease and many factors impact a person’s likelihood of beating cancer, from the age of the person to how quickly the condition was diagnosed.
However, overall in the UK across all types of cancer around 50% of those affected by the disease outlive their diagnosis by more than 10 years. The cancer survival rate has doubled in the last 40 years alone and medical advancements are continuously being made to further improve the prognosis of cancer patients. Among the factors that have an impact on cancer survival statistics are:
The type of cancer you are diagnosed with
According to Cancer Research UK the survival rates for different cancers are huge, ranging from 98% for testicular cancer to just 1% for pancreatic cancer. Across the most common types of cancers in the UK, most have a ten-year survival rate of 50% or more.
While there are large variances in the types of cancer it’s important to note that typically the most common types of cancer have had more research and funding for treatments. As a result, more than 80% of patients that are diagnosed with cancer in the UK have a form of cancer that is easier to diagnose or treat with a greater chance of patients surviving their diagnosis by at least a decade.
If you’ve been diagnosed with any form of cancer it should then be graded, which may involve further testing. Grading the cancer means assessing how abnormal the cancerous cells are when compared to normal, healthy cells. The grade given gives medical professionals an indication of how the cells may behave and how aggressive the cancer is, although this acts as an indicator rather than an exact prediction.
Typically, cancer is graded 1, 2, or 3, with 1 indicating the cells in the tumour are similar to normal cells and growing slowly, while 3 suggests that the cancerous cells are very abnormal and are growing rapidly. Cancer that is graded lower is typically easier to treat and therefore survival rates tend to be higher.
If cancer has spread to other parts of the body it can make treatment more complex and in some cases a complete cure may not be possible. However, even where a cure isn’t possible treatment to control and relieve symptoms can be used and in some cases patients can live for years following an untreatable diagnosis.
After an initial diagnosis, cancer is staged. The stages indicate how large the tumour is and whether it has affected surrounding tissue or other parts of the body. There are several staging systems but a common one has 4 numbered stages. Stage 1 usually means that the cancer is relatively small and contained, while stage 4 means the cancer has spread beyond where it started, affecting other organs. Survival rates are higher when the cancer is diagnosed in the earliest stage.
The age of the patient when they are diagnosed also has an impact on survival rates. In adults, the success of treatment tends to gradually fall as people get older.
If cancer is left undiagnosed you may still be able to make a claim for compensation to reflect the medical negligence that occurred and the suffering it caused.
Those responsible for your care should take all reasonable steps to not only provide the treatment you need but an accurate diagnosis too. Even a shortly delay in cancer diagnosis, of six months or more can mean that the condition worsens as does your positive. Cancer that isn’t diagnosed at all goes untreated and will therefore continue to grow and spread to other parts of the body. As cancer worsens it can reach a point where it becomes untreatable.
The effect of undiagnosed and untreated cancer on the body will depend upon factors, such as the type of cancer that has developed and how aggressive the tumour is. If your cancer was not diagnosed until later stages, and it could have been treated earlier you may be able to make a compensation claim if you can prove that medical practitioners missed opportunities to make an earlier diagnosis.
If a family member has died as a result of a delay in diagnosing and treating cancer it is possible for their relatives or dependents to bring a claim for their death. Examples of these include:
According to Cancer Research UK figures for 2014, there were 356,860 new cases of cancer – or a diagnosis every 2 minutes. Cancer rates have increased by 12% in the last 20 years. While the figure has increased it can partly be attributed to improved processes identifying cancer, population growth, and people living to older ages – diagnosis of cancer is highest in people aged over 85.
However, it’s estimated that around 4 in 10 cancer diagnoses are preventable. Factors such as increasing obesity rates, drinking more alcohol, and other lifestyle choices are leading to cancer rates across the UK getting worse, indicating that changes to the average lifestyle could improve the cancer rate overall.
Despite the number of cancer cases in the UK rising, the good news is that earlier diagnosis, screening programmes, better tests and new treatments mean that more people are beating cancer than ever before. In fact, in the last ten years alone the death rates of cancer have fallen by almost 10%.
Medical pioneers are continuing to develop new tests and treatments, some of which are available for those diagnosed with the disease to try. It’s likely that in the coming years the number of people that die as a result of cancer will fall even further. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is for three-quarters of patients to survive their disease by 2034.
Statistics for cancer across the UK can indicate how common cancer is and how likely developing the disease or surviving it is. But it’s important to remember that there are many factors contributing to cancer and it’s impossible to know whether someone will develop the disease.
Yes. If you suffered from cancer that wasn’t diagnosed until much later you may still be able to make a compensation claim.
You should be able to rely on medical professionals responsible for your care to take the necessary steps to diagnosis your condition. If your GP or other healthcare professional have not listened to your symptoms and missed opportunities to diagnose your cancer or misdiagnosed cancer as another condition, you may be able to make a claim if your condition is worsen as a result or if you have suffered additional pain. There is a time limit of 3 years within, which you must start your claim in Court. The 3 years begin to run from the ‘date of knowledge’, usually when you cancer is diagnosed. While the time limit from the ‘date of knowledge’ gives those affected more time to put forward a claim it can sometimes be difficult to identify when this occurred. In complex cases, for instance those that contained multiple mistakes, it can still be a challenge to pinpoint when your time limit to claim cancer misdiagnosis compensation is. If you’re unsure we can help you. Our expert team will understand your situation and what the next step is.