A 32 year old woman lost her uterus, a large section of her bowel and an ovary as the result of delayed diagnosis of uterine cancer. She was awarded:
Uterine cancer or womb cancer affects a woman’s reproductive system so its very important that it’s diagnosed quickly and treatment is delivered effectively. It follows that, where medical negligence occurs, including in the form of misdiagnosis, it can have a significant impact on the outcomes and options available to a patient.
When you have cancer, you should be able to rely on those responsible for your care to take your concerns and symptoms serious and, where necessary, order the appropriate tests. If this hasn’t occurred and you have had a delay in diagnosis or treatment, you may be able to claim missed uterine cancer diagnosis compensation. While a claim can’t reverse the damage that medical negligence has caused, it can help you understand what went wrong, move forward onto the next step, and focus on your recovery. If you would like to make a claim or learn more about the process, Your Legal Friend is here to offer guidance and support every step of the way.
Our team of specialist misdiagnosis solicitors have experience of working with patients that have found themselves in a position similar to yours. With our support and skills we have helped many of our clients receive the justice and compensation that they deserve for the suffering caused. We know that after finding out you have cancer in the uterus, making a claim can often seem like a daunting prospect. But backed by our friendly, experienced team you’ll have access to all the knowledge you need to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
If you want to make a claim for delayed uterine cancer diagnosis you do need to be aware of the time limit. Any medical claim must be brought forward within 3 years from ‘date of knowledge’ – the point at which you realised that a mistake had occurred and usually the date your cancer was diagnosed. If you’re unsure of when the ‘date of knowledge’ occurred in your case, we can help you understand by talking through your experience and explaining the process to you.
While 3 years is the maximum amount of time that can elapse between the ‘date of knowledge’ and making a claim, we suggest that you start the process as soon as possible. This means the details will be fresher in your mind, paperwork is easier to access, and, if successful, means you’ll receive your uterine cancer misdiagnosis compensation sooner.
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.
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 and 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 uterine 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 uterine cancer negligence team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high value uterine 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.
Director of Medical Negligence
Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win
Whatever the nature of your uterine 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 uterine 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.
You may be able to claim for compensation for delayed diagnosis if you experienced additional pain and suffering as a result. To bring a claim you will need to demonstrate that you received treatment that was below the appropriate standard and that you have had a worse outcome as a result.
Demonstrating that medical negligence has taken place could involve showing:
The way the misdiagnosis has impacted your life can also take many forms. It can include factors that are easy to give a monetary value to, such as lost earnings or medical expenses, as well as areas that are harder to quantify, for instance the need for more extensive surgery or a cure no longer being possible.
If you can show that you have received negligent medical treatment the amount you receive in compensation will depend on your individual case and the experience you had. When you start the process we will give you an indication of what your case is likely to be worth in compensation, but this can change as it depends upon how the misdiagnosis has affected your quality of life, and what financial losses you have incurred. These too can change over time..
While it’s impossible to calculate how much money you could receive from uterine cancer misdiagnosis compensation our team of solicitors can use their expertise and knowledge of medical negligence in cancer cases to help and advise you.
If you would like to make a compensation claim for the misdiagnosis of uterine cancer, including cancer of the womb, you must do so in Court within 3 years. The timeframe begins when you first realised that you were a victim of medical negligence, not when you first visited you GP or were initially diagnosed. In the law, this point is referred to as ‘date of knowledge’ and figuring out exactly when this occurred can be a challenge. It can in most cancer claims be the date on which you were actually diagnosed. If you’re unsure whether you have a misdiagnosis of cancer claim that you can still take forward, we’re here to help you.
While you do have 3 years to bring a case the sooner you start the better. It not only means that you’ll be able to recall your experience in more detail but it can make obtaining supporting documentation, such as medical records and scans, easier. For this reason, we recommend that you start a failure to diagnose uterine cancer investigation as soon as possible.
Uterine cancer can also be known as cancer of the womb or uterus or endometrial cancer, as the lining of the womb is called endometrium. It’s common, with around 9,000 women being diagnosed with the disease each year in the UK, and affects the female reproductive system. Around 5% of cancers diagnosed in women start in the womb, making it the 4th most common cancer for females in the UK.
All cancers begin when mutations occur in the structure of the DNA in some cells. These changes affect how cells grow and can lead to tumours forming. In many cases, it’s not known exactly what causes the cells in the uterus to start acting abnormally and becoming cancerous but there are certain risk factors for uterine cancer that can increase the likelihood of cancer developing.
Among these womb cancer causes are:
There are signs of uterine cancer that can indicate that you should seek medical advice. The most common sign is postmenopausal vaginal bleeding or unusual vaginal bleeding. While this is a symptom of uterine cancer in just 10% of cases, the NHS recommends that patients get their signs investigated immediately as it could also be an indication of other potentially serious conditions.
Most women diagnosed with the cancer have been through menopause, for those that haven’t, symptoms of cancer of the womb include:
Pain in the lower abdomen or pain during sex are other signs of cancer of the womb, although these are less common and not every woman diagnosed with uterine cancer will experience these.
As the condition develops and reaches a more advanced stage there are more uterine cancer signs that patients may notice. Among these are:
A uterine cancer diagnosis usually starts with a visit to your GP after you’ve noticed symptoms of womb cancer. While it’s unlikely that abnormal vaginal bleeding is linked to cancer, you doctor should rule out the possibility. Your GP should carry out a physical examination as well as asking about your symptoms and how frequently they have occurred.
If your doctor believes there is a chance you have uterine cancer they will refer you to a gynaecologist, a specialist in female reproductive organs, for further testing. Under guidelines some women should be referred within 2 weeks, especially if they are presenting other uterine cancer symptoms.
Tests to achieve a diagnosis of uterine cancer include:
This is a specific type of ultrasound that is conducted internally that allows for a detailed picture of the uterus. While it can be uncomfortable, a transvaginal ultrasound shouldn’t be painful. The presence of cancer in the uterus can change the lining of the womb and this is what medical professionals will be looking for.
While a transvaginal ultrasound can highlight abnormalities, it can’t be used alone to diagnose cancer. A biopsy involves removing a small sample of cells that can then be investigated for cancer.
One uterine cancer test is a blood test that will look for the presence of certain chemicals that can be released by some cancerous tumours. While a blood test can be an indication it can’t act as a diagnosis on its own and further tests will need to be conducted.
Once a diagnosis has been given, doctors will need to assess the uterine cancer stages. The stages of cancer indicate how the disease has developed and will look at whether or not it has spread to other areas of the body. Uterine cancer staging is important as it can affect which treatment option will be recommended to you. Tests to stage cancer may include:
It is possible for uterine cancer to be misdiagnosed in rare cases. A misdiagnosis can occur in a number of ways and lead to the disease being labelled as a number of incorrect conditions. Misdiagnosed uterine cancer is serious as it can mean a delay in receiving the vital treatment that you need to beat the disease. Uterine cancer misdiagnosis can start in the GP’s office, such as if your doctor fails to refer you, or results from test results being read wrong.
There are a number of conditions that uterus cancer can be wrongly diagnosed as, including adenomyosis and fibroids.
Adenomyosis is a common condition where tissue that normally lines the womb starts to grow within the muscular wall. It can cause pelvic pain and make periods more painful. However, it doesn’t usually cause unusual vaginal bleeding and adenomyosis can be ruled out with the necessary tests.
Fibroids are growths that can develop in the womb but are non-cancerous. They have some symptoms that match uterine cancer, including abdominal pain and pain during sex. However, you doctor should conduct a test to rule out fibroids being cancerous tumours.
Treatment for uterine cancer will be decided taking each patient’s personal circumstances into consideration. A team of specialists will work together to recommend a treatment plan that is best suited to you, taking a variety of factors into consideration, including how large and advanced the cancer is and whether fertility is an issue for you.
While uterine cancer treatment is tailored to each individual, surgery is the main treatment that is used. Uterine cancer treatment options include:
Uterine cancer surgery is usually recommended but the extent of the surgery can vary, often depending on the stage the cancer is at when diagnosed. At stage 1 it’s likely that you’ll have a hysterectomy, where the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed. If this cancer has spread, it may also be necessary to remove lymph nodes in the pelvis and cervix too. For advanced cancer, it may be impossible to treat the disease using surgery and in this case as much as the cancer as possible is often removed to relieve symptoms.
Radiotherapy is used to both slow the spread the cancer if it’s uncurbable or as a way to cut the risk of cancer returning. It can be delivered both internally and externally and the course of radiotherapy will vary depending on the stage the cancer is at.
Treatment of womb cancer that is at stage 3 or 4 may also involve chemotherapy. It’s usually administered through an injection and used to prevent cancer returning or to relieve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease if a cure isn’t possible.
The female hormone oestrogen has been linked to cancer of the uterus and in some cases of womb cancer hormone therapy can be used as treatment, although this isn’t always possible. It’s most often used with advanced stage womb cancer or when cancer returns.
There are several different types of uterine cancer and this can affect the treatment recommendations you are given, as well as how rapidly it will progress.
This is the most common of the uterine cancer types and it means that the cancer started in the lining of the womb. Around 95% of cases of endometrial cancer are adenocarcinomas, where it’s gland cells that were initially affected. There are 3 types of adenocarcinomas which are split into subcategories. Type 1 cases are linked to excess oestrogen and tend to grow slowly and are less likely to spread, while type 2 cases grow rapidly and can affect other parts of the body.
This type of cancer is much less common and develops from cells within the muscle layer of the womb, rather than the lining. As sarcoma cancers affect soft tissues it can mean they are able to spread easily to other parts of the body, including the lungs.
Carcinosarcoma cancer is rare and has shared features with endometrial cancer and sarcoma when examined. However, it’s often treated as a type of endometrial cancer because of the way it behaves and progresses.
While the cervix is part of the womb, cervical cancer is very different to womb cancer and is treated as a separate form of cancer.
Womb cancer survival rates have improved significantly in recent decades, going from 75% surviving their disease by more than a year in the early 70s to 90% in 2011. The cancer of uterus survival rate has also improved when assessing the 5-year and 10-year rate. Now 79% of patients will outlive their diagnosis by more than 5 years, while 78% do so for more than 10 years.
As with most types of cancer, the uterine cancer mortality rate varies depending on the age of the patient and the stage at which they were diagnosed. For those under 40, 87% will survive their diagnosis for five years or more, while the figure is 57% for those aged over 40. In terms of uterine cancer survival rates by stage, almost all of those diagnosed at stage 1 will survive their diagnosis by a year, while 45% do so if they are diagnosed at stage 4.