Cancer misdiagnosis is a mistake made by a doctor or health professional which results in your illness being incorrectly diagnosed – and possibly resulting in incorrect treatment.
What is late cancer diagnosis?
A late cancer diagnosis occurs when the onset of the disease is missed, allowing the tumour to reach a more advanced stage.
Potentially, a late diagnosis could increase its severity, reduce the success of possible treatments or even prove fatal. But for some cases, a late cancer diagnosis will not make a major difference.
What types of cancer can be affected?
There are many different types of cancer, which can result in a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis – including:
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Skin cancer (Melanoma)
- Cervical cancer
- Colon cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Fibroadenoma cancer
- Mesothelioma cancer
- Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph)
How does late or cancer misdiagnosis happen?
Cases of cancer misdiagnosis happen because of a variety of reasons.
Unfortunately, many doctors and staff working in the NHS and healthcare system are stressed and overworked.
Sadly, this can lead to errors being made and things being missed.
Common examples of cancer misdiagnosis include:
- Failure to act or a delay in carrying out procedures like biopsies
- Doctor misses or misinterprets the symptoms of cancer
- Tissue samples and smear tests incorrectly interpreted
- A lack of investigations into symptoms of ill health
- Delay in referring you to a specialist
- X-rays and scans being misinterpreted
- Doctor misinterprets test results
- Malignancy not identified by consultant
- Test or radiology results not followed up
- Complete misdiagnosis
- Non-referral by a GP
- Administrative error
- Failure to conduct on ongoing tests
What is the impact of a cancer misdiagnosis?
Medical errors like those outlined above should not happen and are not easy to explain.
Misdiagnosis hinders the ability to conduct proper treatment, impacts on recovery times and can causes more problems.
Medication errors, such as being prescribed the wrong medication or an incorrect quantity, can also impact upon a patient’s health and recuperation process.
Delayed care often allows the condition to worsen and increases the risks commonly associated with the disease. Sadly, this can prove devastating if a cancer which could have been treated becomes terminal.
What should I do if I’ve been misdiagnosed with cancer?
If you become ill, the doctor responsible for your health has a ‘duty of care’ to provide the best treatment possible.
Whilst this is required by law, the actual process is based completely on trust – and most of us expect them to make a correct and timely diagnosis.
Unfortunately, doctors do occasionally make a mistake, including cases of cancer misdiagnosis. This can have potentially life-changing consequences. In a worst-case scenario, it could result in a fatality.
If a medical professional fails to properly diagnose cancer or deliver an unsatisfactory level of care, which significantly impacts on a person’s life or leads to a fatality, they could be guilty of medical negligence
If you’ve been the victim of misdiagnosis, you are entitled under UK law to take appropriate legal action. The doctor or hospital where you were admitted may be liable for negligence, along with any staff who assumed a ‘duty of care’ during your cancer treatment.
We would recommend talking to a claims specialist as soon as possible to determine the strength of your case and chances of success.
How will a cancer claim help other people?
Cancer misdiagnosis is a type of medical negligence and taking appropriate legal action may allow lessons to be learned – and prevent it from happening to anyone else in the future.
By finding out who is responsible, how it happened and why; you could help to educate those who made the mistake and ensure they never repeat it.
What can I claim as a victim of cancer misdiagnosis?
Every cancer misdiagnosis claim is slightly different and the settlement you’re entitled to depends on the circumstances and severity of your case – and its impact.
Typically, claims can be made for one or more of the following:
- General damages – injuries, pain and suffering
- Medical expenses – private treatment, therapy, counselling etc
- Cost of future professional care – in cases of long term/permanent disability
- Travel expenses incurred
- Loss of past or future earnings
- Bereavement payments
- Child dependency payments
- Family dependency payments
- Funeral costs
How much compensation will I receive?
The amount of compensation you may be entitled varies from case to case and depends on your individual circumstances.
It will also reflect the seriousness of the cancer misdiagnosis, or late diagnosis, and its impact your health and overall quality of life.
For a more detailed assessment of what you may be able to claim, please get in touch to arrange a free legal consultation.
Why should I use Hudgell Solicitors?
Our dedicated team understand how to deal with these sensitive cases and our approach is focused on you and your family.
As part of our company values, we promise to see the person and not just the claim.
Get in touch and we’ll schedule our first meeting within 24 hours, assigning a dedicated cancer claim specialist to your case.
We’ll conduct a free and confidential consultation where we can listen to your circumstances and ask questions about the care you received.
If we believe you have grounds to successfully claim compensation, we’ll work with you to get the result you deserve.
What is the cancer misdiagnosis claims process?
If we take on your case, a dedicated specialist will be on hand to provide legal advice and guidance when you or your loved ones need it most.
We understand that you may still be undergoing treatment for cancer and will try to make the whole process as simple and stress-free as possible.
If you’re not happy with the oncologist or specialist who is treating you, we may be able to arrange a consultation with a different one.
At the same time, we’ll work hand in hand with independent medical professionals to understand the severity and impact the misdiagnosis or late diagnosis has had on your health.
To provide complete clarity, we’ll contact everyone involved in your treatment to collate the necessary evidence needed to represent you and negotiate a settlement.
We also promise to help you through the process every step of the way, writing to you every four weeks with any updates or information.
Get our experts fighting on your side – call us for free help and legal advice.
Is there a time limit for making a cancer claim?
In most cases, you have three years from the day moment the cancer misdiagnosis becomes apparent or the time you became aware of the misdiagnosis to begin legal action – NOT three years from the day of the actual treatment.
The reason for this is because people often do not fully appreciate the negative results of misdiagnosis of late diagnosis until they start showing, often a substantial time after surgery or treatment.
For children, the three-year limit starts on the day of their 18th birthday.
Can a cancer claim be made after death?
Should a cancer misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis lead to the illness becoming terminal, the right to bring a claim does continue for three years from the date of the death.
In sensitive cases like this, our experts will work quickly to establish whether a claim could succeed and do everything they can to deliver clarity and ensure justice is done.
If the victim does pass away before a decision is reached, we work closely with their family or loved ones to make sure the claim is brought to a conclusion in their absence.