Breast cancer misdiagnosis claim solicitors.
Breast cancer is the most common form of the disease in Britain, with almost 50,000 new cases every year, and as many as one in eight women in the UK having invasive breast cancer at some time in their lives.
Whilst an extremely serious illness, breast cancer has every chance of being treated if diagnosed early. Unfortunately, breast cancer if often misdiagnosed as a benign cyst, mastitis or fibrocystic breast disease.
Research, carried out in 2018, has found that four out of 10 patients with cancer in the UK receive the wrong diagnosis of cancer at least once before their disease is correctly diagnosed.
If you or a family member have suffered as a result of medical negligence, MG Legal’s expert medical negligence solicitors can help you get the compensation you deserve to get your life back on track.
What are the most common causes of delays in breast cancer cases?
There are many causes for breast cancer diagnosis being delayed. Some relate to the patient; whether it’s the fear of receiving a cancer diagnosis, so a trip to our GP is avoided, or the embarrassment of having a breast examination. Research led by Breast Cancer Now in 2018 found that less than half (48%) of British women surveyed were regularly checking their breasts for signs of breast cancer, while almost one in ten (8%) had never checked at all. The most common reasons women cited for not checking their breasts regularly were because they forget (41%) and 21% said they didn’t check their breasts regularly because they don’t feel confident in checking.
However, MG Legal’s medical negligence solicitors are here to help you if a medical practitioner has been negligent, and although our local GP, and the NHS offer a wonderful service most of the time, research has found that four out of 10 patients with cancer in the UK receive the wrong diagnosis of cancer at least once before their disease is correctly diagnosed, with breast cancer being one of the most common cancers thought to be misdiagnosed.
The most common causes of delays are:
Failure to recognise the symptoms of breast cancer;
Failure to carry out adequate examinations or tests, for example where your symptoms suggesting that you have breast cancer, and your GP doesn’t examine you or refer you to a specialist for tests;
Failure to advise you to return for further review, if symptoms persist or worsen;
Mistakes by medical professionals who interpret test results;
An abnormal mammogram or test result isn’t followed up;
A MRI, Ultrasound result, or biopsy isn’t reported correctly;
Your symptoms are misdiagnosed as something else.
If you have suffered medical negligence, resulting in breast cancer not being diagnosed, or being diagnosed after the cancer has spread, or become worse because of the late diagnosis, then please contact our medical negligence experts, for a no obligation, confidential chat. If it is proven that your medical treatment has been negligent, then our friendly solicitors will accept your claim for breast cancer misdiagnosis, on a no win no fee basis.
Do I have a claim for breast cancer misdiagnosis?
We are all glad to know that breast cancer survival in the UK has doubled in the last 40 years, with survival gradually increases from 85% in women aged between 15 and 39, peaking at 92% in 60 to 69 year olds. Stastically then, if breast cancer is diagnosed and treated in time, the chances of recovery are very good indeed. However, if there are substantial delays the cancer is likely to spread and can become life threatening.
Other than a breast examination, where a doctor will check both breasts and the lymph nodes, found under the arms, medical practitioners have available to them many additional tests to find or diagnose breast cancer. If found early breast cancer is highly treatable, but only if the patient is referred for further treatment, If you have suspected breast cancer, either because of your symptoms or because a mammogram has shown an abnormality, you'll be referred to a specialist breast cancer clinic for further tests.
The methods of diagnosing breast cancer are:
Breast ultrasound. An ultrasound scan, sometimes called a sonogram, is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the inside of the body. Your doctor should suggest that you only have a breast ultrasound scan if you're under the age of 35. This is because younger women have denser breasts, which means a mammogram is not as effective as ultrasound in detecting cancer.
Diagnostic mammogram. If you have a problem in your breast, such as lumps, or if an area of the breast looks abnormal on a screening mammogram, doctors may have you get a diagnostic mammogram. This is a more detailed X-ray of the breast.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A kind of body scan that uses a magnet linked to a computer. The MRI scan will make detailed pictures of areas inside the breast.
Biopsy. This is a test that removes tissue or fluid from the breast to be looked at under a microscope and do more testing. There are different kinds of biopsies such fine-needle aspiration, core biopsy, open biopsy, and vacuum-assisted biopsy.
As with most medical negligence claims, failing to diagnose breast cancer is usually caused by human error, with radiologists, the doctors specialising in diagnosing and treating injuries and diseases using medical imaging (radiology) procedures, such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound, listed as being the leading medical speciality sued in breast cancer negligence cases.
From MRI scans, to more invasive biopsies, there are many ways to diagnose breast cancer; if that is, a medical practitioner carries out the correct tests, and makes the necessary referrals to a specialist breast cancer clinic. Whether the cause for late diagnosis is because of a GP’s failure to refer a patient for further tests, or as a result of a mammography, or biopsy error, by a radiologist, if a medical practitioner, whether it’s your GP, or breast surgeon, fail to treat you correctly, it can cause significant delays and the cancer can grow or spread around the body.
If you have suffered negligent treatment, you need the best expert advice, and should contact an expert medical negligence solicitor, such as MG Legal, and discuss your breast cancer misdiagnosis claim as soon as possible.
What can happen if a breast cancer diagnosis is delayed?
There are four stages of breast cancer, with each of the four stages, broken down into further categories. From stage 1 breast cancer, where the tumour measures less than 2cm and the lymph nodes in the armpit are not affected, and there are no indications that the cancer has spread, to stage 2 breast cancer, where the tumour has grown, and now measures 2 to 5cm, the lymph nodes in the armpit are affected, or both. If the patient has stage 3 breast cancer, then the tumour remains between 2 to 5cm, but is attached to the structure of the breast, such as the muscle, and skin. If diagnoses is delayed to the point where the cancer is classed as stage 4, then the cancer has spread to at least one other part of the body, and the chances of patient survival are far less than if the cancer was diagnosed at an earlier stage.
Delays in diagnosis can be life-threatening which is why it’s so important for medical professionals to ensure that mistakes are not made. An incorrect or late diagnosis of breast cancer can also lead to:
Cosmetic deformity to the breast, requiring reconstructive surgery;
Thickening of the breast;
Breasts changing colour and size;
Affect the liver, kidneys, brain, muscles and bones;
Damage to the integumentary system - the organ system consisting of the skin, hair, nails, and exocrine glands;
Lymph nodes being unnecessarily removed from the armpit;
Lymphoedema, a disabling condition where the arm swells and becomes painful.
How do I make a compensation claim for breast cancer misdiagnosis?
If you have been unfortunate enough to suffer negligence at the hands of a medical practitioner, then do not hesitate to contact MG Legal’s friendly team of expert medical negligence solicitors. We deal with medical negligence matters on a daily basis, and when you contact our offices, you will speak to a solicitor who empathises with your situation, will listen, and that advise you how we can help you, on a no win no fee basis.
Usually, if you have suffered as a result of medical negligence, then you have three years from the date of the negligence, or from your knowledge that the medical practitioner’s negligence has caused your cancer to be misdiagnosed, or worsen, within which to pursue a claim for compensation. The three year time limit is subject to the Limitation Act 1980, but if you were under 18 years old when the negligence occurs, then you have three years from your 18th birthday within which to make a personal injury claim. If the claim relates to a patient who can’t manage their own affairs because of a mental disability, the 3-year period doesn’t apply until (and unless) they recover from their disability. In both these cases, a parent or other person close to them can make a claim on their behalf.If you have any questions or queries, then please do not hesitate to contact one of MG Legal’s medical negligence experts, as soon as possible after the incident - don’t leave getting in touch with our solicitors until the last minute. Clinical negligence cases can be rather complex to investigate, with our solicitors required to obtain, at times, many years’ worth of medical notes, sometimes amounting to thousands of pages. So although you have three years within which to pursue a medical negligence compensation claim, it is wise to put the wheels in motion sooner, rather than later, to avoid being disappointed.