Closing the Care Gap: World Cancer Day 2023

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Katie Witterick

Medical Negligence Solicitor

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On World Cancer Day this year, we’re looking at how we can address the inequity of cancer care through the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)’s Close the Care Gap campaign. Even though we live in a higher income country, inequality in cancer care still exists. In this article, we’ll talk about your role, the role of healthcare system and your workplace in preventing, detecting, and treating cancer.

More than one third of cancer cases can be prevented, and another third can be cured if they’re detected early and treated properly. We all have a role to play in spreading awareness of this, and empowering ourselves and others with knowledge about cancer treatment and prevention.

We’re very lucky to live in the UK, and have access to our healthcare system and infrastructure. 65% of cancer deaths happen in the least developed parts of the world. But factors such as income, education, location and ethnicity can still increase people’s risk of developing cancer in the UK. Inequality affects people’s ability to seek care for symptoms, or even recognise them in the first place. Some people are more at risk of developing cancer because of their diet and lifestyle, or even their workplace.

What Can we do as Individuals to Prevent and Detect Cancer?

There are many “modifiable risk factors” for cancer. We can change our own behavior and educate our loved ones about these, to help prevent cancer. These factors include how much tobacco and alcohol we consume, what we eat, and how much exercise we do. You can read more about the actions you can take on the World Cancer Day website.

It’s also important to know your own body, and how to check for some of the signs and symptoms of cancer. We can increase the chances of recovery in some cancers by detecting signs early.

Do you regularly check your breasts or testicles for changes or lumps? When was the last time you went for a prostate or cervical scan, if you’ve been invited to do so?

If you worked in the manufacturing industry, did you know some symptoms of cancer, such as Mesothelioma from asbestos, can take between 10-50 years to show?

The more we can protect ourselves and spread knowledge about cancer, the more we can prevent it or detect it early.

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The Part that Medical Negligence Plays

We know more about cancer than ever before, because of breakthroughs in medicine and diagnostics. But we still have a way to go to improve our healthcare resources and the training and knowledge of our healthcare professionals.

Medical negligence still happens, and our lawyers see many people who have experienced a misdiagnosis or late diagnosis in cancer, with devastating consequences. Medical negligence happens when healthcare professionals fail in their duty of care to you. They might have made serious mistakes which caused your cancer to worsen or go undetected, for example by missing symptoms during screening.

When this happens, our lawyers can help people and their loved ones claim for compensation. We want to help people’s lives be as normal and fulfilling as possible after a late or missed diagnosis. We also want to ensure healthcare providers are adequately trained so treatment is properly given, and they can revisit their processes to ensure early signs and symptoms of cancer are detected.

Skills shortages in healthcare workers are a huge factor in causing the “Care Gap” in cancer globally. This extends to our country, where we’re seeing immense pressure and delays in the NHS, due to understaffing, underfunding and the impact of COVID-19. Unfortunately, this means many people are receiving inadequate care for cancer treatment. Claiming for compensation may not be your first thought. But it could make sure important lessons are learned, so that we can spread awareness and work towards a better healthcare system.

Industrial Disease and Cancer in the Workplace

Our specialist Industrial Disease solicitors also help people who have cancer that was caused by their workplace. Again, knowledge about work-related cancer has improved immensely over time. Employers have a duty of care to follow regulations to prevent cancer from developing in their employees, from exposure to chemicals.

Unfortunately, negligence can still happen in the workplace, and we can help people seek compensation from their employers. We also deal with many historic cases of employer negligence, from people who have developed cancers such as mesothelioma years later, even if the company has now shut down.

You might have been exposed to carcinogens such as asbestos, formaldehyde or UV radiation which can cause different types of cancer, with symptoms developing slowly over time. The more that employers can improve their training and prevention measures, the less common these work-related cancers can be.

How our Lawyers can Help You

Millions of lives could be saved from cancer each year, by implementing strategies for prevention and care in both the workplace and healthcare. Our lawyers are passionate about working towards this. Making a claim can be stressful and complex, but our friendly, experienced specialists are here for you every step of the way.

You can get in touch with our Medical Negligence lawyers, or our Industrial Disease team today. We can offer you a free claims assessment, whether you want to claim for yourself or on behalf of a loved one.

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