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Colon cancer misdiagnosis &
malpractice compensation

Colon cancer misdiagnosis & malpractice compensation

How much can you claim?

A 61 year old man's colon cancer went undiagnosed for two years despite continual worsening of abdominal pain and constipation. He was awarded:


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Claiming for colon cancer negligence

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

Colon cancer can be a terrifying diagnosis. But for those patients who experience a delay in diagnosis or treatment, it can be even more difficult to deal with. Colon cancer, also referred to as bowel cancer, is often treatable during the earlier stages and negligence, such as misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, can have a significant impact on the patients overall outcome and treatment options.

Discovering those responsible for your care have let you down can leave patients unsure of who to turn to for answers. Investigating a claim for misdiagnosis of colon cancer can help patients who have been affected by getting answers they need as to what went wrong, and helping the hospital to make sure it does not happen to someone else. Financial compensation for the additional pain and suffering can also be sought and whilst we know that money cannot undo the damage that has been done but it can give those affected by misdiagnosed colon cancer more flexibility. For instance, it may allow you to take extra time off work, pay for private medical care, or simply relieve financial pressures.

Bringing a medical negligence claim doesn’t have to be a worrying prospect, in fact, with our help the whole case can be managed to reduce any stress. You will be supported by our experienced and specialist of solicitors team who have a wealth of knowledge in medical negligence cases and colon cancer claims. We’ll be there every step of the way to offer support and guidance.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The time limit on making a colon cancer claim

If you have experienced misdiagnosis of colon cancer and would like to make a medical claim you must do so within 3 years of the diagnosis. After this time period, you will probably not be able to bring a case forward against those responsible for your undue suffering.

The beginning of the 3-year period starts from the ‘date of knowledge’. This point refers to when you first had knowledge that you were misdiagnosed with colon cancer or should have been diagnosed sooner. In some cases, the ‘date of knowledge’ can occur long after you first visited your GP with the symptoms of cancer and concerns. Complex cases can mean patients received multiple misdiagnoses or medical professionals missed many opportunities for an accurate diagnosis. This can make working out the beginning of the timeframe a challenge.

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. 

If you’re unsure whether you have a colon cancer misdiagnosis claim  that you can bring, we’re here to help you. Our expert team can help you understand whether you can take your claim to the next stage.

While you do have up to 3 years to make a claim in Court against those responsible for your misdiagnosis of colon cancer, we advise that you start it as soon as possible. We understand that while recovering from colon cancer or undergoing treatment a claims process can seem like a daunting prospect but starting sooner can help  your case. We will be on hand to offer guidance throughout the process, including obtaining expert evidence to support your cases. In many instances, this evidence can be easier to secure if the claims process is started sooner.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of cancer negligence solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • No win, no fee – guaranteed
  • Over 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation
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

Our colon cancer negligence experience

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

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

*Our No Win, No Fee agreement

Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win

Whatever the nature of your colon 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 colon 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.

No Win, No Fee Solicitors

Start your claim in 10 minutes

For a FREE, confidential, no-obligation assessment of your claim, simply complete this short form. We aim to call you back within 10 minutes.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The colon cancer negligence claims process

Step 1 - Obtaining your medical records

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.

Step 2 - Providing your statement of what happened

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.

Step 3 - Minimising your loss

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.

Step 4 - Establishing that a breach of duty occurred

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.

Step 5 - Establishing the effect of the breach of duty

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.

Step 6 - Calculating the value of your claim

The value of your claim comprises:

  • general damages for the pain, suffering and impact of the negligence on your daily life both now and in the future
  • actual financial losses such as loss of earnings, cost of care, medical and travel expenses.

Step 7 - Proving your loss

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.

Step 8 - Preparing your case for Court

Although only a small number of cases proceed to a trial, we prepare every case for this eventuality.

Step 9 - Attending the trial in Court

The trial takes place before a Circuit or High Court judge who will make a decision based on the evidence we have prepared.

Step 10 - Awarding your compensation claim

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.

Frequently asked questions

Can I claim for colon cancer misdiagnosis?

Yes. If you’ve been affected by a delay in colon cancer diagnosis you may be able to make a compensation claim. In order to take a successful claim forward you must be able to prove that the healthcare professionals responsible for your provided you with poor treatment that did not fulfil acceptable standards and that you have suffered a worse outcome as a result..

There are many ways that colon cancer misdiagnosis cases occur, including:

  • The initial symptoms being linked to another condition
  • The signs of colon cancer being dismissed
  • The necessary tests not being ordered despite symptoms being present
  • Test results being read inaccurately
  • Abnormalities in test results not being followed up

It can sometimes be difficult to see whether your case and experiences are due to medical negligence but if you’re unsure we’re here to help you and guide you towards the next steps.

How much compensation will I get?

The amount of compensation a patient that has been affected by colon cancer misdiagnosis depends on a number of factors. Each case depends upon what the patient in that case has suffered personally as a result of the delay and how they have been affected in terms of financial costs they have incurred or how their earnings have been affected. We will consider the full impact a late colon cancer on you and advise you as an individual.

Without fully understanding you case and personal experience we can’t tell you how much compensation you would receive if your colon cancer misdiagnosis claim  was successful. But our expert team of professional solicitors are on hand to help you. With our knowledge and understanding we will value your claim, taking the impact the misdiagnosis of colon cancer on your life into full consideration. If you would like to learn more about how much your case could be worth you can contact us.

How long do I have to make a claim?

If you would like to make a misdiagnosis of cancer claim, you must do so within 3 years from the ‘date of knowledge’. This term refers to the point that you first realised a mistake had been made in the treatment that you received; this is usually the date of diagnosis in cancer claims. For some patients, this can be a difficult point to assess, especially if it took a long time for an accurate diagnosis to occur or if it’s a complex case. If you’re unsure whether you can still make a colon cancer misdiagnosis claim for a past incident, our expert team is on hand to help you understand.

Despite the 3-year time limit, we recommend that patients start the compensation process as soon as they are able to. This can make the proceedings quicker as it’s typically easier to obtain supporting documentation as evidence the closer to the date of knowledge it occurs.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What causes colon cancer?

Colon cancer is a bowel cancer that specifically starts in the colon, the large bowel, and is often referred to as bowel cancer. As with all types of cancer, colon cancer begins when cells within the body begin to multiply uncontrollably forming masses known as tumours. The exact reason behind what causes cells to behave abnormally in the colon is unknown but there are associated risk factors that means the disease is more likely to develop. These include:

  • Age – Older people are more at risk of colon cancer occurring, over 90% of cases of the disease are diagnosed in those aged over 60.
  • Family history – Having a close family member that has previously suffered with colon cancer can indicate that your risk is greater. Around 20% of all bowel cancers are associated with hereditary factors.
  • Diet – Over 1 in 5 cases of bowel cancer is linked to eating red and processed meat in the UK, while 12% have been linked to eating too little fibre.
  • Smoking – Those that smoke cigarettes are more likely to develop bowel cancer. It’s estimated that 8% of bowel cancer cases in the UK are linked to tobacco smoking.
  • Alcohol – Colon cancer risk is 21% higher in people who drink around 1.5-6 UK alcohol united per day. Those that consume around 6 units or more per day are 52% more likely to develop colon cancer than occasional drinkers.

Other factors have also been linked to an increasing likelihood of colon cancer developing, such as being overweight, existing medical conditions, and exposure to radiation. According to Cancer Research UK over half of all colon cancer cases in the country could be prevented through changes in lifestyle.

What are the symptoms of colon cancer?

There are symptoms of colon cancer that indicate you should visit your GP for an examination and furthering testing. During the early stages of cancer, the signs of the disease can be subtle but symptoms include:

  • Bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stools 
  • A persistent change in normal bowel habits 
  • A lump that your doctor can feel in your rectum or stomach, more commonly on the right side 
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating that is brought on by eating 
  • Tiredness and breathlessness caused by a lower than normal level of red blood cells

Sometimes the cancer can also block the bowel causing an obstruction. In these cases, other signs of colon cancer may be present, such as gripping pains in the abdomen, vomiting, constipation, and feeling bloated.

More than 90% of those suffering with colon cancer experience a persistent change in bowel habit, blood in their stool, or abdominal pain and those with these symptoms should visit their GP if they persist for more than 4 weeks. Unfortunately, some of the signs of colon cancer can be misinterpreted for other conditions, such as IBS or haemorrhoids, leading to a delay in diagnosis and treatment.

How is colon cancer diagnosed?

If you have the symptoms of colon cancer you should first book an appointment with your GP. During your appointment, your doctor is likely to ask you about your symptoms, family history, and conduct a digital rectal examination to check for lumps. Other tests that may be conducted at your doctors include an examination of your abdomen and a blood test.

If signs indicate that colon cancer is causing your symptoms or the diagnosis is uncertain, further testing at a hospital will be recommended. Tests to obtain a colon cancer diagnosis could include:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy – This test examines the rectum and some of the large bowel. A sigmoidoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a camera allowing professionals to view the bowel. It may also be used to conduct a biopsy, where a sample of tissue is removed for lab testing.
  • Colonoscopy – This test is similar to a flexible sigmoidoscopy but allows professionals to examine the entire large bowel.
  • CT colonography – A CT colonography creates 3D images of the large bowel and rectum from different angles. The test can identify areas that may be cancerous and is used when other tests are not suitable.

Further tests to stage colon cancer and see whether the disease has spread beyond the bowel to other areas of the body could involve a CT scan or an MRI scan.

Can colon cancer be misdiagnosed?

In some instances, colon cancer misdiagnosis can occur, as the symptoms can be mistaken for those of other conditions, resulting in the necessary tests not being ordered. It’s estimated that across all types of cancer around 10% of cases are initially misdiagnosed.

Delays in diagnosing colon cancer can have a significant impact on the treatment options available to a patient and the prognosis they receive. There are many conditions that colon cancer can inaccurately be diagnosed as, including:

  • Colon cancer misdiagnosed as diverticulitis

Diverticulitis can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloating, similar to those of colon cancer. It’s a condition that also affects the colon, or large intestine, and it can mean that cancer is mislabelled as diverticulitis.

  • Colon cancer misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a common digestive problem that causes bouts of symptoms, such as bloating and diarrhoea or constipation. In some cases, the symptoms can be mild and in others very severe. If your symptoms are initially mild, it may mean that a doctor links the signs of colon cancer to IBS instead. 

  • Colon cancer misdiagnosed as ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease, the symptoms tend to flare up and are similar to those of colon cancer, including abdominal pain and recurring diarrhoea. Ulcerative colitis is often misdiagnosed as colon cancer and vice-versa, as a result of the similar symptoms.  

  • Colon cancer misdiagnosed as haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids, or piles, are swellings containing enlarged blood vessels that are found inside or around the rectum. As colon cancer can also cause swellings and obstructions this can mean bowel cancer is misdiagnosed as haemorrhoids. However, piles aren’t typically associated with other symptoms of colon cancer and your doctor should order further tests.

Once colon cancer has been diagnosed it’s likely that further testing will be carried out. This is to stage and grade the cancer, assessing how it has developed and whether it has spread to other areas of the body. Staging the cancer is an important step and can have an impact on the treatment options that are recommended to you.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

How is colon cancer treated?

The treatment for colon cancer consider a variety of factors, including how advanced the cancer is and your general health. Overall, bowel cancer that is caught during the early stage is often very treatable and there’s a good chance that the cancer won’t return. However, a cure isn’t always possible.

A multidisciplinary team will be responsible for your care if you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer who will create a treatment plan with you in mind, although the final decision will remain with you. Treatment for colon cancer typically involves one or a combination of the following:

  • Surgery

Surgery is the most common treatment for colon cancer. If diagnosed during the early stages, colon cancer may be able to be removed from the bowel with a colonoscope. However, it typically involves removing part of the colon and lymph nodes, where the cancer often spreads to first, through keyhole surgery. In most cases, patients will need to wear a stoma following surgery and in rare cases may need to wear one permanently.

  • Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can be given through injections, tablets or capsules and is a cancer killing drug. It can be used in conjunction with surgery to reduce the size of tumours and prevent the cancer from returning.

  • Biological therapies

Targeted, or biological, therapies are sometimes used to treat bowel cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. They can be used on their own or with chemotherapy. They are anti-cancer medicines that affects the cells’ ability to grow and spread.

What is the colon cancer survival rate?

According to Cancer Research UK, 57% of patients diagnosed with bowel cancer survive their diagnosis for 10 years of more. However, the survival rate varies depending on a range of factors, such as how quickly the cancer is diagnosed and the age of the patient.

When diagnosed at its earliest stage, more than 9 in 10 people with bowel cancer will survive their disease for 5 years or more, while the figure is less than 1 in 10 when diagnosed at the latest stage. Those in younger age groups are also more likely to survive the disease for longer as are those aged between 60-69 when diagnosed, although this is linked to screening programmes picking up the disease in the earlier stages.