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Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims

Getting compensation after cancer misdiagnosis

Failing to diagnose cancer correctly can have drastic consequences. If this happens to you, you could be eligible to make a cancer misdiagnosis claim.

Cancer is something everyone worries about – and for a good reason. According to Cancer Research, there are over 167,000 deaths attributable to cancer each year – many of which are preventable.

An early cancer diagnosis is central to a person’s chances of making a full recovery, but that doesn’t mean patients always get the treatment they deserve.

The NHS continues to be under pressure, and cancer misdiagnosis claims aren’t uncommon. If you’re worried about your future or have lost a loved one due to failures by healthcare providers, then you could be eligible for compensation.

Find out more about NHS negligence claims.

To find out more, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

The most common misdiagnosed cancers

There are so many forms of cancer, and each presents a set of symptoms that are easily confused with other conditions. However, it’s the responsibility of your GP to take the signs seriously and arrange tests should they feel something might be wrong.

While all forms of cancer are subject to misdiagnosis, some have symptoms that GPs often overlook.

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer misdiagnosis claims often occur because the doctor believes the symptoms are due to another condition. For example, a patient will present with pain when passing bowel movements, feeling gassy and uncomfortable in general.

These symptoms are also familiar with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), haemorrhoids and colitis.

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms among women, but that doesn’t mean it’s always diagnosed promptly. Doctors often mistake tumours for cysts, and inflammatory breast cancer can appear as fibrocystic disease.

Lung cancer

The most common symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough, hoarseness, shortness of breath and wheezing. However, numerous conditions can cause these symptoms, including bronchitis, asthma and TB.

Many doctors will put the symptoms down to one of the above, and the key to treating lung cancer is a quick diagnosis.

Pancreatic cancer

If a person has pancreatic cancer, the symptoms often occur within their digestive tract and can be mistaken as general inflammation, pancreatitis or gallbladder issues. As pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly types, a quick diagnosis makes all the difference.

So, if you’ve had a cancer misdiagnosis, you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim.

To find out more, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms on this page and they’ll call you back.

Why is cancer often a delayed diagnosis?

There are numerous reasons why cancer might be misdiagnosed, but the vital thing to remember is it’s never the fault of the person. If you – or a loved one – visit the GP with symptoms, it’s their job to give you the best possible treatment.

Research by All Can showed disturbing statistics related to cancer misdiagnoses. According to the study, the figure stands at almost 32%, which highlights a massive problem.

Funding for adequate machinery

Most hospitals use CT machines and other equipment to diagnose cancer – but what happens when that equipment isn’t up to standard? With limited funding available, there will always be times when the NHS doesn’t have the top-grade equipment that can facilitate a speedy diagnosis.

Private facilities often have the best equipment, but many people cannot afford to access those services.

Lack of staffing

Working as a doctor or nurse is one of the most stressful jobs around – and the NHS has an ongoing staff shortage. When not enough people are on board, referrals and specialist appointments often go through significant delays.

If a person has to wait months to see a specialist, they might find that their cancer has progressed, which will mean more intensive treatment or cancer advancing to the palliative care stage.

Determining your eligibility for a cancer misdiagnosis claim

Before beginning a claim, you need to determine whether you’re eligible. To be successful, the healthcare provider has to be completely at fault for the misdiagnosis of cancer; otherwise, you won’t receive any compensation.

Let’s take a look at some examples that count as medical negligence:

  • Late referrals: Some people might have to return to their doctor multiple times for a referral. When this happens, it counts as medical negligence.
  • Misinterpretations: If a specialist fails to recognise signs of cancer from testing, they can put you at risk.
  • Wrong treatments: Many cancer treatments are available, but they’re not suitable for everyone. Improper treatment can make your condition worse or cause permanent damage. Find out more about making a surgical error claim.
  • Early discharge: Some patients might be given the all-clear, only to find further down the line that their cancer hasn’t gone into remission at all. This means the symptoms can worsen, which could put the person’s life in jeopardy.

So, if you’ve had a cancer misdiagnosis, you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim.

To find out more, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

The cancer claims process

If you think you’re eligible to make a cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim, the first step is to contact an expert for free advice.

You can do this by speaking with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. This trained legal adviser will discuss how the medical negligence claims process works and assess your eligibility before passing you on to an expert no win no fee solicitor.

Meet with a no win no fee lawyer

Many claims work on a no win no fee basis because it’s the best solution for all involved. Instead of paying any legal fees upfront, you’ll only pay if the law firm wins your case, so there’s no financial risk involved.

Your lawyer will put the case forward

Once your lawyer decides to take the case, they’ll gather evidence and put it forward to the doctor’s or hospital’s medical negligence team.

You might have to attend a medical assessment with a specialist to verify the extent of your cancer and how the lack of treatment or late diagnosis impacts your life.

Agreement and settlement

In most cases, filing a cancer misdiagnosis claim means the negligent party will settle out of court as it’s a severe case where the doctor or specialist is at fault. However, some people won’t reach an agreement, and both parties will have to go to court.

Your no win no fee lawyer will go out of their way to ensure this doesn’t happen, but if it means securing more compensation, then sometimes court is a good idea.

Once you receive the settlement, the lawyer will take their fee out of the amount, and you can use the money to fund treatments or anything else you might need.

Starting your claim for cancer misdiagnosis

If you’d like to find out whether you’re eligible to make a cancer misdiagnosis claim, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438.

There’s no obligation to pursue the claim, but if you wish to proceed they’ll put you in touch with their expert no win no fee lawyers, giving you everything you need to move forward.

Should I claim compensation against the NHS?

You have every right to seek compensation if you have a cancer misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Whether it’s a lung cancer misdiagnosis, prostate cancer misdiagnosis or anything else, doctors have a duty of care to each patient.

The NHS has insurance, and by stepping forward to make a claim, you can prevent it from happening again and make sure other people receive a correct diagnosis.

How much compensation can I get from cancer misdiagnosis claims?

There’s no set amount for cancer claims because it ultimately depends on your cancer type and how medical negligence impacts your life. When determining how much compensation to award, the following factors influence the decision:

  • Loss of earnings.
  • How advanced the cancer is/was.
  • Medical treatment.
  • The cost of private treatments.
  • Money lost through the death of a loved one (e.g. a parent passing away.
  • Travel costs.
  • Private care.
  • Changes to your home or car to facilitate mobility.

For example, if you make a no win no fee cancer misdiagnosis claim because your doctor failed to identify skin cancer, but you make a full recovery, you’ll receive less compensation than someone with cervical cancer who has to undergo extensive treatment.

If someone receives the wrong diagnosis because their doctor failed to refer them for further investigation, that late cancer diagnosis that reduces a patient’s life expectancy will result in more compensation.

While there’s no concrete way to know how much you’ll receive with a medical negligence claim, any amount that helps compensate your losses will make a significant difference.

How long can I wait before making a claim?

The general rule is that you can claim within three years of a cancer diagnosis, but cancer misdiagnosis solicitors always recommend getting the ball rolling immediately.

Between treatments, gathering evidence and the negotiations, the sooner you file the claim, the better. If a child claims due to a misdiagnosis of cancer, they have three years from their 18th birthday to file for compensation.

Can I claim for a family member?

Yes, you’re within your right to claim for a family member – as long as you can prove that someone’s clinical negligence impacted your life. For example, a spouse can claim on behalf of their partner, or the next of kin can file for compensation.

What evidence will my no win no fee solicitor need?

You’ll need to prove that your doctor or hospital was negligent in their treatment plan, so your lawyer and theirs will want to see the evidence. Your lawyer will handle the medical assessment and everything, but you can also help by:

  • Getting hold of your medical records to prove the severity of your condition and all hospital visits.
  • Ask for reports from the entire medical team to verify your condition and how it’s impacting your life.
  • Printing out your financial records to record travel costs, losses of earnings and anything else you’ve had to pay for due to the condition.
  • Write a personal statement to discuss how cancer impacts your life and how the doctor/hospital has let you down.

Why choose a no win no fee solicitor?

Choosing a no win no fee solicitor takes the financial risk out of claiming for compensation. A no win no fee agreement means your solicitor only receives a fee if the claim is successful, meaing you’re not left out-of-pocket with costly upfront fees.

Also, you can have peace of mind that your case has a good chance of winning because the lawyer won’t take it on unless they’re confident.

So, if you’ve had a cancer misdiagnosis, you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim.

To find out more, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms on this page and they’ll call you back.

About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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