Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in the UK. The disease affects as many as 55,122 new women each year and accounts for as much as 15% of all new cases of cancer in the UK. It is also an extremely serious condition. However, if it is caught in the early stages, such as stage one or stage two, survival rates will be between 90% and 99%. This is the point at which the claimant in the case which we have researched should have been diagnosed. However, the claimant experienced delayed diagnosis of breast cancer which allowed the condition to progress to a later stage.
Before looking further at the case we have researched, we have included some headline statistics around breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Statistics
- 11,565 deaths in 2016 were due to breast cancer.
- At the end of 2010 there were 491,300 people alive in the UK who had previously had a diagnosis of breast cancer.
- Men accounted for just 370 new instances of breast cancer in 2015.
- The number of new cases is increasing year on year. However, the rate of survival for breast cancer is also increasing.
- Even at stage three, 60% of women will still live beyond five years.
In the breast cancer misdiagnosis case we are looking at, doctors treating the claimant had failed to detect and properly diagnose her breast cancer. This led to a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer and, consequently, much more serious treatment being required.
Accident Claims UK are a specialist at helping people through personal injury claims. Our team will help you successfully navigate the process as we do all the heavy lifting, leaving you to concentrate on your recovery and treatment. At the bottom of this page, we have included information on how you can get in contact with our team, as well as our guides to claiming compensation for a medical negligence surrounding cancer.
What Are The Implications Of Delays To The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Breast Cancer?
The fact that the claimant experienced a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer meant that the treatment she had to undergo was much more radical and required both radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery to remove the breast. It is possible that if results had been interpreted differently earlier in the diagnostic process, the claimant may have been treated with less aggressive or invasive methods.
Clinical errors can have very serious implications for patients. If the condition which has not been diagnosed is very serious, such as in breast cancer misdiagnosis cases, the implications could even be fatal. Thankfully this case did not progress that far. In instances where you have been hurt or harmed because of negligent treatment, a delay in your diagnosis, or misdiagnosis, you could be able to make a successful compensation claim.
How Was The Claimants Breast Cancer Diagnosis And Treatment Delayed?
When looking at the claimants breast cancer misdiagnosis case, we can see that in the early stages, all the correct steps were taken by doctors.
The trail of errors which led to the claimants delayed diagnosis of breast cancer began in 1994. At this point the claimant found what appeared to be two lumps in one of her breasts. She sought an appointment with her GP and was correctly referred to the hospital for further consultation. Here she received a mammogram and a ultrasound. The results of these indicated that her lumps were benign and not cancerous.
The claimant was later seen by a consultant surgeon (a two monthly intervals). The masses did remain noticeable and another ultrasound was recommended as a precautionary measure in January of 1995. At this investigation, there was no abnormality seen in the ultrasound. The following month, the claimant was seen again and lumpiness was noted. She was then recommended a review three months later. This appointment was carried out by a locum doctor. The claimant stated that the hospital did not offer her a biopsy. The hospital disputes this statement.
Two months after this the claimant visited the original surgeon again and was told that she would not need any more tests or exams. However, the claimant insisted that she be reviewed three months later. At this appointment lumpiness was again found and an ultrasound was conducted the following month. This ultrasound did indicate a biopsy could be necessary. This was then carried out at the end of 1995. Note the long time scale from the initial enquiry.
The biopsy did show that the claimant had what is called an “invasive lobular carcinoma”. This is a type of cancer of the breast tissues. At this point it was recommend that the claimant undergo further procedures such as wide excisions as well as having a biopsy taken from the claimants axillary nodes. This was carried out in early 1996. The claimant was advised not to have a mastectomy at this point. Later that month the claimant visited another oncologist who recommended that she have a mastectomy. The oncologist also recommended she undergo radiotherapy and that the claimant think about having chemotherapy. The claimant had a course of radiotherapy over six weeks.
One year later the claimant discovered a new lump on the same breast and had a biopsy, the results of which showed her cancer had come back. She later had a course of chemotherapy and a mastectomy.
How The Case Was Investigated, Established, And Carried Out
The claimant contacted a no win no fee solicitors service to enquire about claiming compensation following her delayed breast cancer diagnosis. The personal injury solicitor began by investigating the claim and the delays suffered by the claimant in getting the right diagnosis. They were able to obtain evidence from experts which supported the claim, namely that the cancer and the lump should have been thoroughly investigated much earlier in the process. The expert evidence obtained by the claimants personal injury solicitor showed that the hospital should have performed a biopsy at an earlier consultation, or that a fine needle aspiration should have been performed in 1994 on the lump.
Experts cited in the personal injury claim were in agreement that if doctors had performed a biopsy as early as September 1994, they would have been able to provide the right diagnosis of the breast cancer.
If the delayed cancer diagnosis had not happened, then the claimant would not have required the more invasive surgeries that she needed later to remove the cancers. It was also stated that the delayed cancer diagnosis was a large contributory factor in the cancer being recurrent and the claimant needing both a full mastectomy as well as chemotherapy. Experts working on the personal injury claim thought that the claimant would have made much better progress if the diagnosis had been provided at the right time.
Initially, the claimant did deny their liability for the damage caused by the late diagnosis of breast cancer. However, once supporting evidence was provided by experts working on the claim, the defendant did admit that they had breached their duty of care to the patient. However, they still did not admit causation.
How Much Was The Claimant Awarded In A Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Settlement?
As stated above the claimant did not admit that they had breached their duty of care to the claimant. Once this was admitted, they still did not admit their causation in the development of her breast cancer. Whilst they did not admit causation, in light of the severity of the effects of the damage caused to the claimant, the defendant did make an out of court settlement offer of £200,000 in damages. This was awarded for the delayed diagnosis of breast cancer and the effects that this had upon her.
Breast cancer misdiagnosis settlements can vary depending on the effect that the delay or misdiagnosis has had upon the claimant. Find out more about settlements by reading our guide, linked at the bottom of this page.
No Win No Fee Compensation Claims For The Delayed Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer
Delayed diagnosis of breast cancer can be a traumatic experience with potentially very serious consequences for patients Perhaps one of the biggest benefits which Accident Claims UK can offer to the claimants which we work with is that we have no win no fee solicitors who can work on your misdiagnosis claim. We hope that our professional and understanding approach to your claim will be able to provide you with some degree of respite from legal concerns, as you concentrate on your recovery.
Through our customer focused approach, we hope to spare claimants any stresses involved in the legal process. And by offering a no win no fee service, we also aim to remove the stresses which can come with having a large legal bill to pay, especially if the case takes longer to conduct. Known as either a conditional fee agreement or a no win no fee agreement, these are very helpful in removing the associated risks of taking legal action. Being able to access the services of a no win no fee solicitor when making a claim, such as for the effects of delayed diagnosis of breast cancer allows you to work with the best personal injury lawyers available.
Speak To Our Team About Your Claim
To find out more information about how to claim compensation after having a late diagnosis of breast cancer or if you need to make a misdiagnosed cancer compensation claim, contact Accident Claims UK today. You can speak to our team now by phone, email, or by using the ‘support’ form on this page. By messaging us you can request a call back from our team at a time convenient to you.
All enquiries are free of charge and we can often offer people a no win no fee service.
Helpful Resources And Additional Links
We have included links to a relevant misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of cancer compensation guide on our site, as well as helpful external resources.
Misdiagnosis of Cancer Claims
If you have cancer and your treatment has been affected by a late diagnosis or misdiagnosis of your condition, such as delayed diagnosis of breast cancer, find out how to claim compensation in this guide.
NHS Breast Cancer Treatment Information
An overview of breast cancer in women, as well as further information on symptoms, causes, diagnosis and the treatment of breast cancers in women.
Cancer Research UK
Information about Breast Cancer including how to get a diagnosis and treatment, and what the risks and causes of breast cancer are.