Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer During the Pandemic
Posted on 18th August 2021
We are seeing a worrying rise in delayed cancer diagnosis claims in the fallout of the pandemic. Read more on this from our medical negligence solicitors here.
It is no secret that the NHS has been under immense pressure since the Coronavirus pandemic started last March, with staff shortages, overrun wards, and the delaying of many non-urgent appointments and surgeries.
As we now begin to see the fallout of the last almost 18 months, a worrying trend of how the disruption has affected cancer treatment is becoming apparent with reports showing an increase in mortality and a decrease in diagnoses. Our specialist cancer misdiagnosis solicitors discuss this below.
How has the pandemic affected cancer treatment and diagnoses?
The affect of Covid-19 on the NHS as a whole has been huge, and cancer patients are not an exception. Oncology departments have suffered as a result of the repeated lockdowns and restrictions in numerous ways, including:
The cancellation of surgeries to remove tumours in cancer patients, in order to prevent the cancer from spreading
The cancellation of routine check ups for cancer patients and chemotherapy patients in order to track the progress of their treatment and adjust medication accordingly
The cancellation of scans to track the progression of cancer in patients
Vulnerable or immunocompromised patients being unable to attend appointments due to the risk of contracting Covid-19 and shielding
Patients with suspected cancer, or showing signs of cancer, not seeking medical attention due to the pandemic
Failure to recognise symptoms of cancer due to sub-par appointment conditions
Early symptoms of cancers, such as lung cancer, being mistakenly diagnosed as Covid-19
What are the early signs of cancer than can be misdiagnosed as Covid-19?
Many symptoms of cancers, especially lung cancer, can be similar in nature to those of Covid-19. These include:
A persistent cough lasting for 2-3 weeks
Breathlessness or trouble breathing
Pain when coughing or coughing
A long-standing cough that continues to get worse
These symptoms can suggest a number of different health problems, including cancers such as lung cancer, and would require further tests and looking into in order to determine why they are happening. However, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, many patients showing symptoms relating to the virus in any way have automatically been thought to be suffering from Covid-19, without any further tests being done to assess the problem.
This has led to a large number cancer misdiagnoses, and delayed cancer misdiagnoses, across the country. Patients have not been referred to specialists within the two week window as they are supposed to be, and this has led to delayed treatment, or no treatment at all. As cancer is left untreated, it can spread across the body, to an irreversible point where treatment is no longer an option, and the cancer is terminal.
It is for this reason that early diagnosis and treatment is key when it comes to cancer, and even a small delay in diagnosis can have a huge impact.
What can I do if my cancer treatment or cancer diagnosis has been inadequate or delayed?
If you have suffered from a cancer misdiagnosis, a delayed cancer misdiagnosis, or inadequate care during your cancer treatment, then you could be entitled to financial compensation through a medical negligence claim. MG Legal specialise in all aspects of cancer misdiagnosis claims, including lung cancer misdiagnosis claims, delayed cancer diagnosis claims, fatal cancer misdiagnosis claims, and many others.
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