Should My Doctor Have Known that I Had Cancer?

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In many cases, the signs and symptoms of cancer aren’t immediately recognisable to doctors. But in others, there will be signs and symptoms that are apparent but are somehow missed, and should reasonably have led to earlier investigation and/or treatment.

This can be devastating both for you and your family. So what can you do in this situation? Should your GP have known that you had cancer and acted sooner? Can you hold the doctor accountable? And can you get compensation for medical negligence?

For free legal advice get in touch with our Medical Negligence Solicitors. We may be able to deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis – ask us for details.

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What Types of Errors Can be Made by Doctors?

  • Delays in referring you for further investigation of certain symptoms
  • Misdiagnosis in your condition and the incorrect treatment provided
  • An administrative error, for example, a failure to communicate and action test results
  • A failure to correctly report on the results of scans and tests which are performed
  • One or more errors which have occurred in the treatment of your cancer. However, it may be the case that those errors haven’t actually affected the treatment you would have received or your long-term outcome.

If you want to make a medical negligence claim, our expert Medical Negligence Solicitors can assess your claim and obtain the necessary evidence to determine whether a claim for compensation can be made.

Each person's circumstances will be different. In assessing your claim, your Medical Negligence Solicitor will need to consider your medical records, past medical history, the symptoms you were displaying and how many times you were visiting your doctor.

For more information see GP / Doctor Negligence Claims.

The Duty of Care

Health professionals owe you a duty of care to provide treatment to you which meets a certain reasonable standard. In the UK, there are nationally recognised guidelines that each health professional should follow which are related to their specific speciality.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines are one such set of guidelines which all health professionals are expected to take account of when exercising their clinical judgment. These set out recommendations which should be followed to recognise and appropriately refer a patient for further investigation and treatment dependent on the site of the suspected cancer.

If it can be shown that a health professional provided treatment which fell below the acceptable reasonable standard of care, which can include a failure to follow NICE or any other guidelines for their specific speciality, without a justifiable reason, they may be found to be negligent in the care that they provided to you.

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What Can I Claim as a Result of Medical Negligence?

  • Compensation for your injuries
  • Loss of income which you would have earned
  • The cost of additional care you have received and may continue to need in the future
  • The cost of private medical treatment to help alleviate your symptoms
  • A reduction in your life expectancy
  • Unnecessary expenses, such as travel expenses

If you believe you’ve suffered negligent treatment in relation to the diagnosis and/or treatment of cancer, or you believe there was a delay in diagnosis of cancer, you may be entitled to compensation.

What are the Most Common Types of Cancer?

There are over 200 types of cancer, including lung, breast, bowel and prostate cancer, and the diagnosis and treatment of each type is particular to each one. Some types of cancer can start in one part of the body and spread elsewhere - a process known as metastasis.

Generally, if cancer is detected early, treatment is more likely to be successful and can make a significant difference to long term health outcomes. However, some cancers are very aggressive and difficult to treat in any case.

What are Some of the Common Signs of Cancer?

  • Breathlessness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent cough
  • Unexplained pain or ache
  • Unusual lump or swelling anywhere
  • A change in bowel habits
  • Blood in your urine/faeces

Many of the common signs of cancer can also be linked to other non-related health conditions, which may explain, in some cases, why symptoms were misdiagnosed.

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