Late but fatal diagnosis of cancer

Home / Medical Negligence  / Late but fatal diagnosis of cancer

A recent newspaper article highlighted the issue of the failure to diagnose and the sometimes late but fatal diagnosis of cancer, in particular cases of bowel cancer.

A staggering 40,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year. Out of those people there is often numbers where there cancer is negligently missed by their doctor. The newspaper article highlighted the case of 35 year old Katie Pearson which sadly echoes a number of the cases of missed bowel cancer that I see as a medical negligence lawyer. Katie was diagnosed with bowel cancer 2 years after her first symptoms which sadly meant the cancer had already spread into her pelvis and lymph nodes. Despite numerous attendances at her GP surgery she was repeatedly diagnosed as having haemorrhoids. It wasn’t until Katie collapsed one morning that she was rushed to hospital and underwent a colonoscopy. Two weeks later she was told she had bowel cancer.

The issue of bowel cancer has been highlighted recently following the death of teenager Stephen Sutton and more recently with the actress, Lynda Bellingham, revealing that she has been diagnosed with 4 stage bowel cancer. The mother of Stephen Sutton has spoken of her anger of the late diagnosis of her sons cancer despite a number of symptoms including Lynch Syndrome, a genetic condition that increases the risk of bowel cancer.

Often cases of misdiagnosed or the late diagnosis of cancer can be incredibly difficult to deal with for all involved. As lawyers the biggest hurdle we have to overcome is whether or not the cancer could have been treated/removed and stopped from spreading had earlier action had been taken. In some cases where the cancer is aggressive, by the time a diagnosis is given, the cancer has spread and nobody can be blamed for failing to stop it spreading. I often see cases however, like Katie’s, where doctors have failed to listen to their patients and fail to take note of their symptoms, and sadly the patient later gets a diagnosis of cancer. Only last week I reviewed a case where an x-ray had been taken and showed the possibility of metastases however, no action was taken by the GP in that case. Sadly for that lady the cancer spread.

If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer and you feel that there has been a delay then it is important to instruct a lawyer who is familiar with dealing with these cases.

Should you wish to discuss a potential medical negligence claim the please feel free to email me at [email protected] or call me on 01271 372128.

Oliver Thorne leads the Medical Negligence team at Slee Blackwell and is happy to take on cases under a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement. He is an experienced medical negligence lawyer who has acted for clients all over the country.