Skin cancer misdiagnosis claims.
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, with over 10,000 diagnoses every year in the UK. As with any cancer, early diagnosis is key to having the best chance of successfully treating the cancer. However, through no fault of their own, some patients do not always receive an early diagnosis.
In the event that your skin cancer is misdiagnosed because of negligence on the part of a medical professional, you could be entitled to make a claim for financial compensation. Speak to one of MG Legal’s expert medical negligence solicitors today and find out how we can help you on a No Win No Fee basis.
For more information on skin cancer misdiagnosis claims, see below:
Was my skin cancer misdiagnosis negligent, and can I get compensation for my cancer misdiagnosis?
Almost all medical negligence in respect of skin cancer is related to misdiagnosis of some sort, which in turn leads to delays in treatment. As the survival rate for early diagnosis of skin cancer is so high, diagnosis of the condition early can often mean that treatment is no more than a topical cream, or a minor operation to remove a limited area of skin around a mole or blemish.
A combination of an early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to ensure survival and full recovery, and even if the cancer is not wholly removed, the prospects of having a second chance to treat the cancer and a longer life are increased by early treatment. So, any missed opportunity to diagnose the condition, is potentially denying the chance of survival, increasing the prospects of more invasive treatments and likely reducing life expectancy.
Negligence occurs when a medical professional, at any stage, misdiagnoses your symptoms as something else and either provides or refers you for the incorrect treatment or simply does not treat you at all. If, because of the act of negligence, your symptoms worsened or your condition is missed entirely, you are entitled to make a claim for cancer misdiagnosis personal injury compensation. If this is the case, get in touch with our expert cancer misdiagnosis solicitors today to begin your claim, here.
What is a skin cancer misdiagnosis?
Generally speaking, a skin cancer misdiagnosis will fall into one of three categories:
Missed diagnosis- In this instance your skin cancer has been completely missed by doctors, and therefore has not been treated at all. This undiagnosed skin cancer could then have progressed while left untreated.
Incorrect diagnosis- This category covers two scenarios. The first is where a medical professional, after assessing a mole or skin lesion, incorrectly diagnosed, and potentially incorrectly treated it, as something other than skin cancer. It also covers situations where patients are incorrectly diagnosed with skin cancer which they are not actually suffering from. This can be equally as psychologically traumatising as a proper diagnosis for many patients.
Late diagnosis- If, through no fault of your own, your skin cancer was diagnosed later than it should have been, and was therefore left untreated for longer than necessary.
While most misdiagnoses fall into one of these three categories, skin cancer can go unchecked from anything from a few weeks to years, for a huge multitiude of reasons. Mistakes and negligece from medical professionals can occur at any stage, including:
Referrals not occurring, or not occurring quickly enough, to the correct department or specialists;
Misdiagnosis of symptoms as another condition or as nothing of concern;
Where tests are incorrectly ordered, meaning the full range of potential conditions is not screened;
Results are misread, or misinterpreted;
Results are not correctly related to the patient;
Treatment is incorrectly prescribed or surgeries improperly carried out.
How should my skin cancer have been diagnosed?
Skin cancer has the second highest survival rate of all common cancers, with a survival rate of ten years or more being around 87-90% for melanoma. This is further increased when you look at rates for survival when the cancer is caught early. It is almost unheard of for anyone to die within 1 year of being diagnosed with melanoma. Unlike many other forms of cancer, which can cause serious health issues fairly quickly, the symptoms will take a long time to become so severe that obvious medical attention is warranted. One of the most commonly stated pieces of advice is to regularly check for any new blemishes or moles, or to keenly watch any moles that chance size, shape or appearance.
Most skin cancer diagnoses begin with a GP appointment to discuss the affected mole, lesion, or area of skin. It is the duty of the GP to fully examine the area, and ask you questions about changes to the area over time.
After an initial doctors visit, you likely should be referred to a specialist who, depending on the nature and apparent urgency of your condition may be a dermatologist, surgeon, oncologist or histopathologist. Treating many cancers is done on a “Multi-disciplinary” basis and so, where is no necessarily set way of referring or treating you.
Testing is limited for skin cancer, with two main methods being used:
Dermoscopy; quite simply looking at your skin under a powerful magnifying glass to visually identify areas of concern.
Biopsy; where a sample of your skin is taken, often the full mole if this is the cause of concern and this is then looked at by a dermatologist or similar specialist, who will decide if there is a growth of cancerous cells or a benign mole or lump.
The above can be unpleasant, but a necessary evil if cancer is to be properly diagnosed, and they should be offered to anybody who comes to a medical professional showing potential signs of skin cancer. A failure to do so is an act of medical negligence, and you should be entitiled to financial compensation if you were subject to this treatment.
Can I make a claim for my skin cancer misdiagnosis?
If you have experienced a skin cancer misdiagnosis of any kind, then you have the right to make a claim for any injuries and illnesses that you have suffered from as a result of negligent action on their behalf.
Here at MG Legal, we understand that the process may be daunting, and you might not know where to start with making your claim, or if you even have a claim, to begin with. Our expert medical negligence personal injury solicitors are always available to discuss your case, and assess what the best next step is. Contact our team, here, to speak with an expert today.
We can guide you through the process, and assist you with everything from the gathering of evidence to getting you in touch with an industry-leading medical examiner, if we feel that your claim would benefit from this.
In doing so, we take all of the stress away from you, allowing you to focus on rebuilding your life and keeping up with your work and family responsibilities.
How much compensation will I receive for my skin cancer misdiagnosis?
With all personal injury and medical negligence cases, it is very difficult to establish a concrete prediction for how much financial compensation each claim will receive. However, this can be even more complex when it comes to skin cancer misdiagnoses. This is because every case is unique, and the effect that a misdiagnosis had on the development and treatment of your melanoma, as well as the psychological impact that it might have had, varies hugely from patient to patient.
However, our expert medical negligence solicitors are able to pay close reference to the most up to date guidance, the Judicial College’s 15th edition guidelines for the assessment of damages, and interpret this to provide estimates for different injuries, including psychological damage. These are known as general damages, and cover the injury itself, whether that be psychological or a reduced life-span due to a skin cancer misdiagnosis.
This is then combined with any other losses, such as financial losses, is known as Special Damages. The most common Special Damages for skin cancer misdiagnoses include lost earnings, medication costs and travel expenses.See a full overview of the terms, here.
How long have I got to make a skin cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim?
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.
In relation to timescales for pursuing a medical negligence claim, we always advise our clients that if you are thinking of pursuing a claim for medical negligence compensation, then do so as soon as you can. The reason for this is simply that the Limitation Act can be rather cruel, and despite having a period of 3 years within which you are able to make a claim, what a lot of solicitors do not mention, is that the 3 years time limit is not the time limit you have to advise your solicitor about your medical negligence claim- the 3 years is the time limit to actually issue your claim at court, meaning that if you approach a solicitor very close to the 3 year deadline, then there is every chance that your medical negligence compensation claim will not be accepted.
It is wise to put the wheels in motion sooner, rather than later, to avoid being disappointed. If you have any questions or queries, about pursuing a claim for medical negligence, then please feel free to contact our friendly team.
No Win No Fee skin cancer misdiagnosis solicitors:
MG Legal’s expert cancer misdiagnosis solicitors believe that access to justice should not entail up-front costs, legal jargon, or confusing conversations with fussy solicitors who don’t live in the real world. So, if you have suffered a delayed cancer diagnosis because of mistakes during a GP’s consultation, routine testing, or surgical procedure, as a result of someone else’s negligence, then you should not have to pay up front legal costs to get access to justice.