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Pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis &
cancer of the pancreas claims

Pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis & cancer of the pancreas claims

How much can you claim?

A 33 year old woman died as the result of failure to diagnose pancreatic cancer after blood tests showed 'grossly abnormal' results. Her husband received:


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Claiming for pancreatic cancer negligence

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

If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but believe that the opportunity to make that diagnosis was missed at an earlier time you may want to consider whther you could have a medical negligence case.   As pancreatic cancer is one of the least treatable cancers with the lowest survival rates and a failure to diagnose cancer of this type can have catastrophic consequences for the patient.

Any patient who presents with symptoms which could be considered suspicious of pancreatic cancer has the right to be treated appropriately and referred for investigations. Cancer of the pancreas is a dangerous form of cancer  whilst in the majority of cases a prompt and  accurate diagnosis will be made if there is a misdiagnosis or delay it can have a serious impact on treatment options available to you, the patient. If you’ve been affected by medical negligence that has resulted in avoidable  suffering, you may be able to make a medical negligence  claim.

We know that at a difficult time taking on a compensation claim can be a daunting prospect. But when you work with Your Legal Friend we’ll be with you every step of the way, expertly handling the case and working on your behalf to secure the best outcome possible. Late diagnosis of pancreatic cancer claim  can help you understand what went wrong in your case and to provide support for you and your family financially at this difficult time. Financial compensation won’t undo the experience you’ve had but it can help you whilst you recover. If you want to discuss your case, we’re here to help you. With the support of specialist pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis lawyers who have an excellent understanding of the system and process, we’ll make the case as straight forward  as possible for you. From the very beginning of your failure to diagnose cancer claim we’ll be on hand.

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

The time limit on making a pancreatic cancer claim

If you want to make a medical negligence claim, including a claim for delayed diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, there is a time limit by  which you must start your case in Court.. You have 3 years from ‘date of knowledge’, which means the date from your diagnosis of  pancreatic cancer .  In some cases this can be easy to pinpoint but in others it can be difficult, making it a challenge to understand whether you have a claim that you can take forward.

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 experienced misdiagnosis of pancreatic cancer and would like to know if you have a case that falls within the designated time limit, we can help you. Our expertise in the sector of medical negligence means we are well equipped to offer you advice.

While you do have 3 years to make a claim, we advise that you take the steps to bring a claim forward as soon as possible. It’s unlikely to be your first priority after experiencing pancreatic cancer malpractice but starting an investigation into your  claim as soon as possible  means that the details of your symptoms before diagnosis and your experience of treatment will still be fresh in your mind and your medical records and scans should be readily available.

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

You can make a claim for pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis. However, in order to be successful you’ll need to prove that misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused you an injury that you would not have suffered had you been treated properly. . Compensation for delayed diagnosis will reflect the impact of the care you experienced.

There are several factors that could mean your pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis claim could be successful:

  • If you presented the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer but your GP failed to recognise this or failed follow-up and order the necessary tests.
  • If your test results were wrongly read, leading to a misdiagnosis.
  • If you experienced delays that meant the cancer spread and treatment to cure it was no longer an option or more extensive surgery was needed as a result.
  • If the level of care you experienced was below standard, for instance clear margins were not achieved during surgery.

How much compensation will I get?

Compensation depends upon how you personally have been affected by the misdiagnosis and what you personally have lost in terms of earnings and financial costs. As a result, it’s not possible to tell you how much you can expect to receive in missed cancer diagnosis compensation at the outset.

Our expert team are on hand and will take the time to listen to you  to understand what you went through. Based on the information you give us we are then able to value your case, reflecting the undue suffering that medical negligence has caused you.

How long do I have to make a claim?

To bring a medical negligence claim arsising from a delay in the diagnosis of  pancreatic cancer you must bring your claim  within 3 years of your diagnosis.

If you’re unsure whether you have a claim that falls inside the time limit, we can help you understand and support you in taking the next step.

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

What is pancreatic cancer?

The pancreas is a large gland that’s part of the digestive system. It produces enzymes and hormones that are important for breaking down food and releasing hormones into the bloodstream. Pancreatic cancer is simply cancer the starts in the pancreas, although it can spread to other parts of the body as it develops and grows.

As with all types of cancer, pancreatic cancer is caused by cells in the body that are abnormal and grow out of control. These cells create tumours that can become cancerous.

What causes pancreatic cancer?

Causes of pancreatic cancer are not fully understood and in some cases it’s not clear why a person has developed the disease. However, there have been some risk factors for pancreatic cancer identified, the risks can mean a person is more likely to develop pancreatic cancer but there isn’t always a link.

Pancreatic cancer risk factors include:

  • Age – Pancreatic cancer in people under 40 is rare. The disease mainly affects people aged between 50 and 80 years old.
  • Smoking – Cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco can significantly increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. According to the NHS around a third of cases are associated with these items.
  • Certain health conditions – Diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, stomach ulcers, and other health conditions can suggest that a person is more likely to be at risk of pancreatic cancer.
  • Family history – Around 10% of pancreatic cancer cases are inherited from a person’s family. There are certain genes that increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer and a family history of the disease can indicate that you are at an increased risk.

What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

During the early stage there are usually no symptoms of pancreatic cancer, this can make it difficult to diagnose before it advances. Some of the early signs of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Pain in the back and stomach area that often worsens when you lie down or after eating
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Jaundice

These symptoms do not necessarily indicate pancreatic cancer but the NHS recommends that people contact their GP if they are concerned of if the symptoms begin suddenly. Other possible pancreatic cancer symptoms are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bowel changes
  • Fever and shivering
  • Indigestion
  • Blood clots

As the pancreas is responsible for releasing insulin into the bloodstream signs of pancreatic cancer can sometimes mimic those of diabetes, this could include fatigue, urinating more than often, or cuts and wounds that heal slowly.

How is pancreatic cancer diagnosed?

If you present the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer to your GP there are tests that can be performed to diagnose you. Initially this is likely to be a physical examination, including looking for swelling in the abdomen and assessing the skin, as well as speaking about family history of the disease and possible risk factors. If the results of this are abnormal your doctor should order further tests or refer you to a specialist in order to achieve a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

If your doctor suspects pancreatic cancer it’s likely you’ll have either an ultrasound scan, CT scan, MRI scan, or PET scan, allowing them to identify cancer and see if has spread. Further tests for diagnosing pancreatic cancer may be needed, such as a conducting a biopsy to test a sample of cells from the tumour.

After a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer it’s important for doctors and specialists to assess the stages of pancreatic cancer in order to ensure the best treatment option is delivered.

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

Can pancreatic cancer be misdiagnosed?

The survival rate of pancreatic cancer is among the worst, especially within the first year of diagnosis. This is because the symptoms are often very mild initially leading to the disease being misdiagnosed as a less serious condition and treatment not beginning until it has reached an advanced stage. A missed diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is very serious and dangerous for the patient involved as it means vital treatment is delayed.

Misdiagnosed pancreatic cancer often starts with the patients themselves dismissing the symptoms they are experiencing. Doctors can then believe that the signs are related to other conditions and, as a result, do not order the necessary tests in order to accurately diagnose a patient, leading to pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis.

There are several other conditions pancreatic cancer can be wrongly diagnosed as, including:

  • Pancreatic cancer diagnosed as diabetes

The pancreas is responsible to releasing insulin and other hormones into the bloodstream. When tumours grow it can affect this release and mimic the symptoms of diabetes, leading to a misdiagnosis initially.

  • Pancreatic cancer misdiagnosed as gallstones

Gallbladder disease is one of the most common conditions that pancreatic is misdiagnosed as.  Symptoms can be similar, especially when the cancer is in the early stages. However, imaging scans and other tests to diagnose the condition should highlight that a mistake has been made.

  • Pancreatic cancer misdiagnosed as IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a digestive condition that has some similar symptoms of pancreatic cancer, including abdominal pain, nausea, and bowel change. There is no test to diagnose IBS and it’s, instead, diagnosed by a process of elimination, which can mean pancreatic cancer is mislabelled as IBS if the necessary tests aren’t conducted.

How is pancreatic cancer treated?

Pancreatic cancer is very difficult to treat, as it’s not often diagnosed until it has developed, as it doesn’t generally have many symptoms during the early stages. The pancreatic cancer treatment that is recommended to each patient will vary depending on where the cancer is located, the type of cancer, and whether or not it has already spread.

In most cases the aim of treatment will be to completely remove the tumour through surgery for pancreatic cancer. Where this isn’t possible, a treatment plan that aims to control the tumour and stop is from growing further will be recommended. Treatment of pancreatic cancer can include one of the following or a combination of these.

  • Surgery

Surgery is often the only way to for pancreatic cancer to be completely cured. However, it can only be done in around 20% of cases as it can’t be performed if the cancer has already reached an advanced stage when it’s diagnosed. The surgery is complex and there are risks involved. Pancreatic cancer surgery can range from removing the head of the pancreas, known as the Whipple procedure, to a total pancreatectomy, where the bile duct, gall bladder, spleen, part of the small intestine, surrounding lymph nodes, and sometimes part of the stomach is also removed.

In some cases, surgery can also be used to relieve the symptoms of pancreatic cancer where a cure isn’t possible.

  • Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer can be used in several ways. Chemo is used to both kill cancerous cells and stop them from multiplying. As a result, it can be given to complement surgery or used on its own to shrink the cancer, slowing its growth.

  • Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy may also be used as a treatment for pancreatic cancer where it will be used to help shrink the size of the tumour and relieve pain.

What are the different types of pancreatic cancer?

There is more than 1 type of pancreatic cancer and it can develop in different areas of the organ, although around 75% of cancer cases will start in the head of the pancreas. Different pancreatic cancer types, as well as pancreatic cancer staging, can have an impact on the surgery and treatment that is required.

Among the types of pancreatic cancers are:

  • Exocrine cancers

Exocrine cancers are the most common type of pancreatic cancer, where the cancer starts in the cells of the exocrine pancreases. Within this type of pancreatic cancer there are sub-categories too. More than 80% of exocrine pancreatic cancers are adenocarcinomas and is usually treated with surgery. Even rare types of exocrine pancreatic cancer are generally treated with surgery.

  • Endocrine pancreatic cancers

This type of cancer starts in the endocrine pancreases, which is responsible for releasing insulin and other hormones into the bloodstream. While some of these tumours can produce hormones they are often non-cancerous, while those that are cancerous may not result in any symptoms at all.

  • Other rare pancreatic cancer types

There are other pancreatic cancer types that are vey uncommon, including lymphoma, sarcomas of the pancreas, and pancreatolastoma. These cancers are usually treated in a different way to the more common types.

What is the pancreatic cancer survival rate?

Pancreatic cancer can be very aggressive and it isn’t possible to cure completely in many cases. However, the pancreatic cancer mortality rate is falling as better treatment is offered and more people are being diagnosed at an earlier stage thanks to research.

Pancreatic cancer statistics from Cancer Research UK show that during 2010-2011 just 22% of men and 20% of women survived their pancreatic cancer diagnosis for more than a year. The survival rate for pancreatic cancer for 5 years after diagnosis falls to 4% and 3%, for men and women respectively. The age at time of diagnosis and stage that the cancer was at when treatment begins has a significant impact on the success of treatment.