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Oesophageal cancer misdiagnosis
& cancer of the gullet claims

Oesophageal cancer misdiagnosis & cancer of the gullet claims

How much can you claim?

A 57 year old woman suffered a perforation and permenant damage to her oesophagus during negligent surgery. She was awarded:


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Claiming for oesophageal cancer negligence

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

Oesophageal cancer or gullet cancer is curable when it is diagnosed during the early stages. Despite this, finding out you have the disease, even when it’s at stage 1, is a traumatising experience. But if you feel that your diagnosis has been delayed  it can leave you feeling let down and vulnerable.

When you visit your GP or have tests for cancer you should rightly expect that health professionals will treat you properly to get  an accurate  diagnosis, giving you the best chance possible to beat the disease. If this didn’t occur in your case, and you have had a worse outcome as a result you may be able to make a failure to diagnose oesophageal cancer claim. While receiving compensation can’t erase  the experience you have had, it can help you better understand what went wrong and move on from the ordeal. Compensation money can help you to  recover, taking time off work,  pay for further medical costs at a time when you most need it.

We know that after fighting cancer a compensation claim may seem like a daunting prospect and a task you’d rather avoid. But with our expertise and skills in medical negligence claims you can rest assured that we will fight your corner and achieve you the best outcome possible in your case. We know that at this time you want to be focussing on recovering and our friendly, expert team will take the stress of litigation away.

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

The time limit on making a oesophageal cancer claim

Oesophageal Cancer misdiagnosis claims, like all medical claims, have a 3-year time limit. So, if you believe you have been affected by poor standards within the healthcare system while fighting oesophageal cancer, you must act within this timeframe. The starting point of this time limit can be confusing as it’s from the ‘date of knowledge’ or date of diagnosis.

While you can make a claim at any point within the 3-year time limit, we advise that you start the process as soon as possible. We know that you’ll have other things on your mind but getting started sooner means that the case can be investigated long before it needs to go to Court and the  details of your experiences will still be fresh in your mind. We need medical records and scans to support your case and these can be easier to obtain the sooner you start the process.

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 your oesophageal cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim still falls within the time limit or would like to discuss your experience and find out how to progress your claim, you can speak to us for guidance and support.

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

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 oesophagealcancer 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 oesophageal 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 oesophageal 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 an oesophageal cancer misdiagnosis?

It is possible to make a claim for oesophageal cancer misdiagnosis but you must be able to prove that you received a level of care that was below standard and caused you avoidable pain and  suffering. A successful missed oesophageal cancer diagnosis compensation claim will need to show that medical professionals missed opportunities to accurately diagnose you and that as a result you are in a worse position now. This could include:

  • A GP failing to investigate the signs and symptoms of oesophageal cancer
  • The necessary test results to obtain a diagnosis not being conducted
  • Test results showing cancerous cells being read incorrectly
  • Abnormalities in test results not being followed up

How much compensation will I get?

How much you will receive if you make a successful compensation for delayed oesophageal cancer diagnosis will depend entirely on your individual circumstances. This will depend upon your pain and suffering, what fincial losses you have incurred and how your future is now changed as a result of the delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis. If you’d like to discuss your experience and understand how much your claim may be worth, our expert and friendly team is on hand to help.

How long do I have to make a claim?

If you would like to make a claim for the misdiagnosis of oesophageal cancer when you had cancer of the gullet you have 3 years to do so. The starting point is when you were diagnosed. While you do have 3 years to start you claim in Court, we advise that you take the necessary steps to begin a claim against those responsible forward as soon as possible. Making a compensation claim sooner rather than later means you’ll have the details of your experience fresh in your mind and the necessary documents to support your are easier to get hold of. Taking the steps as soon as you can, can be difficult but it also means that it could  be concluded sooner and, if successful, you can move forward and use the compensation to recover and take the next step.

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

What is oesophageal cancer?

As the name suggests, oesophageal cancer affects the oesophagus, also known as the gullet. The oesophagus is the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. This type of cancer mainly affects people in their 60s and 70s and is more common in men than women. The oesophagus is part of the body’s digestive system and around 8,750 people are diagnosed with cancer in this part of the body every year in the UK. It’s a form of cancer that’s becoming more common and, in adults, is now the 13th most common cancer.

What causes oesophageal cancer?

The exact causes of oesophageal cancer are unknown but there are certain factors that have been linked to the disease developing. All cancers are caused by cells that start to act abnormally, multiply uncontrollably to form tumours. Among the risk factors for oesophageal cancer are:

  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder (GORD)

GORD is a condition that means the acid contained in the stomach can travel up the oesophagus. In around 10% of the people that have GORD, the damage that the condition causes leads to the cells in the lining of the gullet changing. While these changes in cells don’t necessarily mean a person will develop cancer it does significantly increase the risk.

  • Alcohol

Drinking alcohol in excessive amounts can cause irritation and inflammation in the lining of the oesophagus. This inflammation can mean the cells in the gullet can become cancerous.

  • Smoking

Oesophagus cancer causes include smoking because of the harmful chemicals and toxins that are contained in the smoke. These substances can irritate oesophagus. The longer a person smokes the more likely they are to develop oesophagus cancer.

  • Obesity

Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of cancer developing in the oesophagus. It’s thought that this cause might be linked to the fact that people that are obese are more likely to develop GORD, which in turns increases the risk of cancer.

  • Diet

Research has indicated that not getting enough fruit and vegetables in your diet can increase the risk of you getting oesophageal cancer.

  • Other medical conditions

Some medical conditions can also increase the risk of cancer of the gullet developing. Among these conditions are tylosis, Paterson-Brown Kelly syndrome, and achalasia.

What are the symptoms of oesophageal cancer?

When oesophageal cancer initially develops it doesn’t usually have any symptoms but as it grows and the tumour expands the signs can become more apparent. Oesophageal cancer symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent indigestion or heartburn
  • Bringing up food soon after eating
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Loss of appetites and weight loss
  • Pain or discomfort in the upper tummy, chest, or back
  • A persist cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Tiredness, shortness of breath and pale skin
  • Vomiting blood or coughing up blood

The signs and symptoms of oesophageal cancer can often be associated to other conditions but it’s always important to get them checked by a GP so they can rule cancer out. The NHS advises patients to make an appointment to see their doctors if they experience signs of oesophageal cancer, especially if they find they have difficulty swallowing, heartburn on most days for 3 weeks or more, or any other unusual and persistent symptoms.

How is oesophageal cancer diagnosed?

When you visit your GP with the symptoms for oesophageal cancer you doctor should ask you about your symptoms, carry out a physical examination, and look over your medical history. This should give your GP an idea of how likely it is that cancer is causing your symptoms and enough information to base the decision to order more tests on. The diagnosis of oesophageal cancer will often be handed to a specialist in conditions affecting the digestive system, known as a gastroenterologist.

There are 2 main tests used to diagnose the cancer – an endoscopy, which allows a doctor to see inside the oesophagus to check for cancer, and a barium swallow or barium meal, which involves drinking a white liquid before x-rays are taken. Most commonly an endoscopy will be used with a biopsy being taken at the same time, allowing some of the cells to be removed and tested in a lab.

Once cancer has been confirmed, doctors will look at staging oesophageal cancer. The stages range from 1 to 4 and have an impact on the treatment that will be recommended in your case. Further tests will be carried out, allowing doctors to see if the disease has spread, these may include:

  • CT scan
  • Ultrasounds scan
  • PET scan
  • Laparoscopy

Can oesophageal cancer be misdiagnosed?

It is possible for oesophageal cancer misdiagnosis to occur. This can stem from a number of factors, such as the GP failing to notice the symptoms and order tests that could diagnose the condition to test results being read inaccurately. Being misdiagnosed when you have cancer is serious, as a delay in treatment can mean that treatment becomes less effective.

Oesophageal cancer treatment is significantly more likely to be effective if the cancer is diagnosed in the earliest stages of the disease. As the cancer develops and spreads to other parts of the body, a cure may not be possible. If misdiagnosis has happened it can affect the patient’s oesophagus cancer life expectancy. If you’ve been affected by misdiagnosis it may be possible to make a compensation claim.

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

How is oesophageal cancer treated?

Cancer of the gullet treatment depends on each patient’s individual needs and conditions. A team of healthcare specialists will work together to create a treatment plan that considers your situation and recommend a plan that they feel is most suitable for you, although the final decision on the treatment chosen will remain with you.

One of the main factors for deciding treatment of oesophageal cancer is the stage that the cancer was at when it was diagnosed. Those that are diagnosed between stages 1 or 3 can usually be treated with surgery, sometimes in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. For cancer diagnosed at stage 4, cancer of oesophagus treatment usually focuses on slowing the spread of the disease and relieving symptoms, as it’s often spread too far for a cure to be possible.

  • Surgery

There are 3 main types of surgery that can be used as cancer of the oesophagus treatment, the team responsible for your care should recommend the option that is best suited to your case. These 3 surgery types include an oesophagostomy, which is used for treatment of cancer in the early stage, where the section of the oesophagus that contains the tumour is removed, sometimes it may also involve removing some lymph nodes and a small section of the stomach. An endoscopic mucosal resection can also be a treatment option during the early stages and is similar to an oesophagostomy without the need to make incisions. For more advanced cases a stent can be conducted.

  • Chemotherapy

When used as oesophageal cancer treatment, chemotherapy can be used before surgery, to shrink the size of the cancer, as an alternative to surgery, or to relieve symptoms when a cure isn’t possible. Chemotherapy works by killing the cancerous cells and can be used with both surgery and radiotherapy.

  • Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy also uses radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours. Like chemotherapy it can be used with surgery and to relieve the symptoms of oesophageal cancer.

What are the different types of oesophageal cancer?

There is more than one type of oesophageal cancer. How each cancer is defined depends on the type of cell that the cancer initially started in. Knowing the type of oesophageal cancer you have can help doctors decide on the best treatment plan for you. Oesophageal cancers can be:

  • Adenocarcinoma

Adenocarcinomas are cancers that start in the gland cells. These cells are responsible for making the mucus that lines the gullet and generally cancer of this type starts further down the oesophagus.

  • Squamous cell cancer

Squamous cells are the cells that make up the lining of the oesophagus. Cancer that occurs in the middle and upper part of the gullet it is more likely to be squamous cell cancer. 

  • Undifferentiated cancers

In some cases, the cancerous cells are not mature enough to be differentiated, this means that it’s not possible for a specialist to tell which type of cell your cancer started from.

  • Rare cancers

There are other types of cancer that can occur in the oesophagus, however, these are very rare and include melanoma, lymphoma, and sarcomas.

What is the oesophageal cancer survival rate?

In the UK, the oesophagus cancer survival rate depends on many factors, including your general health, the type of cancer you have, the stage at which the disease was diagnosed, and more. If the cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of the body the survival rate for oesophageal cancer 5 years after diagnosis is 40% and around the same amount can have treatment to completely cure the disease. 

Oesophageal cancer survival rates UK vary depending on the type of cancer you have. Around 40% of people with squamous cell carcinoma will survive their disease for more than 3 years, while this increases to 50% for adenocarcinoma cancers.