Cancer is a life-threatening disease that requires early diagnosis and decisive action to offer the best possible outcome. A cancer misdiagnosis, leading to a delay in treatment, can severely reduce the chances of survival.
If your cancer or that of a loved one was misdiagnosed, meaning it became harder to treat or resulted in death, you may be entitled to compensation.
Misdiagnosed Cancer And Medical Negligence
Healthcare in the UK is consistently ranked among the best in the world, but even with the high standards that the health service strives for, mistakes sometimes happen.
Despite the hard work of healthcare professionals, a terminal prognosis or a death from cancer is often unavoidable. In the rarest of cases, where such a result was preventable, medical negligence may have played a part.
When this happens, it can be even more devastating to know there may have been the chance of prolonging a life.
What Types Of Cancer Get Misdiagnosed?
If the correct procedures are not adhered to by medical staff it is possible for any cancer to be misdiagnosed.
The most common types of cancer in the UK are:
- Breast cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Lung cancer
Other types of cancers that get misdiagnosed include:
What Happens When Cancer Is Misdiagnosed?
A cancer misdiagnosis can mean a delay in treatment. As it is a progressive disease, early intervention improves the chances of extending life expectancy. If symptoms are missed, or not acted upon at the earliest opportunity, it can severely compromise a patient's prospect of survival.
With over 200 different kinds of cancer in existence, identifying the type is also important to ensure the correct treatment is provided.
Incorrect treatment due to a misdiagnosis of cancer type is potentially as harmful as failing to diagnose it in the first place.
What Are The Targets For Cancer Diagnosis And Treatment?
There are guidelines in place for cancer referrals on the NHS. If a medical practitioner suspects cancer, the maximum waiting time to be seen by the relevant specialist is 2 weeks from when the appointment is booked. The 2 week target reflects the need for early intervention in improving outcomes.
Once cancer has been diagnosed there are further targets for waiting times:
- A maximum of 62 days between the date of an urgent referral and the commencement of treatment
- A maximum of 31 days between the date of a treatment plan being agreed and the commencement of that treatment.
How Does Cancer Get Misdiagnosed?
There are various methods of diagnosing cancer, the uses of which are dependent upon the type being investigated. The first step is reporting symptoms to your GP or a healthcare professional at a hospital.
GPs and hospital doctors are trained to recognise the pattern of symptoms that can signpost cancer. Failing to act on them and provide a referral, if cancer is later diagnosed and the delay affects treatment, raises the possibility of medical negligence having occurred.
There are further stages in the identification process where misdiagnosis can occur. This can include:
- The misreading of x-rays
- The misinterpretation of scan results
- Incorrectly administered or misread tests
- The mixing up any kind of result (x-ray, scan, test etc.) with that of another patient.
If this happened to you or a loved one, you may have grounds for a medical negligence claim.
Why Should I Make A Claim For A Cancer Misdiagnosis?
Due to the serious and possibly fatal consequences of a cancer misdiagnosis it is important that errors are highlighted and investigated. This will help to prevent them being repeated. A compensation claim can set this in motion.
If your treatment was delayed due to a misdiagnosis, affecting your chances of recovery or resulting in physical, emotional or psychological difficulties, the financial settlement from a successful claim can ensure you receive the care and support you need.
Where a loved one has passed away as a consequence of delayed treatment from a cancer misdiagnosis, a settlement can provide the support you need to help come to terms with your loss.
How Do I Make A Cancer Misdiagnosis Compensation Claim?
You have 3 years from when it was discovered your cancer was misdiagnosed, or from when your loved one passed away, to begin your claim.
If you intend to bring proceedings on behalf of a child, you have until they reach the age of 18 to start them, after which the standard 3 year limitation applies.
To find out whether you have grounds for a cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim, you should seek legal advice from our specialist team.
Why Choose Simpson Millar?
With a dedicated Medical Negligence Department equipped to deal with complex cases of this nature, Simpson Millar has the expertise to successfully handle your cancer misdiagnosis claim.
We are an accredited law firm, which aims to provide a friendly, understanding and professional service, focused on achieving the best outcome for you.
Our extensive experience in this area of law means we will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
To discuss your cancer misdiagnosis, contact Simpson Millar and speak with one of our team today