Bowel cancer misdiagnosis claims

Early diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer is crucial to ensuring any course of treatment is effective.  But given NHS pressures, mistakes do happen and if your bowel cancer is misdiagnosed you may be entitled to compensation.

Making a claim for bowel cancer misdiagnosis

Where it can be proven that the standard of care you were provided fell below what might reasonably be expected from qualified physician(s), and that this failure has had an impact on your health the likely outcome of your condition, you may be entitled to commence a cancer misdiagnosis claim.

There are a number of failures that can lead to bowel cancer misdiagnosis. During the course of a medical examination GPs, hospital doctors and other clinical staff have all been known to miss key symptoms of bowel cancer, or to fail to carry out the necessary examinations that could lead to a diagnosis. In other cases, these tests may have been prescribed by your doctor but a referral to a specialist not actually made, not made in a timely fashion, or fail to be undertaken to a satisfactory standard.

Other examples of negligence potentially providing grounds for compensation for misdiagnosis of cancer include where some of the symptoms of bowel cancer were observed, but mistakenly attributed to another, more less serious condition, with no further investigation being carried out.

The only way to find out whether you or your family member may be entitled to make a misdiagnosis claim, is to speak with a specialist medical negligence solicitor who has experience in bowel cancer claims.

Get expert legal advice

Call today and speak to Dominic Graham, specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500

Specialist cancer misdiagnosis claim solicitors

The medical negligence team at Blackwater Law solicitors is recognised by The Legal  500 as one of the leading teams of clinical negligence solicitors in South East. This independent recognition is based on research into the team’s expertise, experience of dealing with a wide range of highly complex medical negligence claim cases, and feedback from surveys of medical specialists and previous clients.


  • Specialist cancer misdiagnosis claims
  • No win, no fee claims
  • Recognised as expert medical negligence solicitors

No win, no fee medical negligence claims

Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors operate all accepted clinical negligence cases, including those for bowel cancer misdiagnosis, on a no win, no fee basis. You therefore face no financial risk from commencing a claim for medical negligence compensation.

Where medical staff have not delivered care to a reasonable standard, you may be entitled to a make a bowel cancer claim.

The impact of bowel cancer misdiagnosis

Bowel cancer misdiagnosis has the potential to reduce prognosis prospects from around a 90% chance of surviving an additional 5 years following diagnosis, with a significant chance of a full recovery, down to around 6% in the worst cases, with virtually no chance of effectively treating the cancer .

Who is at Risk of Developing Bowel Cancer?

Bowel Cancer develops where cells begin to divide and multiply rapidly and incorrectly – usually beginning in the large bowel. There is no definitive way of telling whether or not a given person will develop bowel cancer, however certain groups are at higher risk of contracting this form of cancer than others:

  • Those aged 60 and over are at particular risk, with 90% of cases occurring within this age group.
  • If you consume a large amount of red, and / or processed meat your diet can boost your chances of contracting bowel cancer, especially if you do not consume enough fibre.
  • Being overweight can also put you at greater risk.
  • Those who live a sedentary lifestyle and avoid exercise.
  • Those who smoke tobacco and / or have a high alcohol-intake.
  • Those with a family member who contracted the disease before the age of 50 (your GP should offer you screening if this is the case).
  • Those with pre-existing conditions such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease are at greater risk where their condition has existed in excess of 10 years.

Key Signs of Bowel Cancer

It’s important to remember that symptoms can occur independently of each other, or not at all, and that their appearance may be linked to more common conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This can make it difficult for doctors to diagnose but if you are concerned, you should ask for a second opinion. Nonetheless, if you present to your GP with any of the following they should be carrying out adequate diagnostic measures to avoid delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of bowel cancer:

Early symptoms can include finding blood in your stools or bleeding from your rectum. They may also include sustained changes in bowel movement, such as diarrhoea or constipation, which persist for more than 3 weeks. Some patients also experience abdominal pain, or unexplained weight loss.

As the disease progresses, bleeding inside the rectum can cause anaemia; the effects of which are known to include fatigue and breathlessness.

Advanced-stage symptoms become evident where the cancer begins to obstruct the bowel, causing discomfort, bloating sensations, abdominal pain, constipation and / or vomiting.

This is not intended as an exhaustive list of bowel cancer symptoms. If you are concerned you or a family member may have bowel cancer but this has not been diagnosed, you should seek urgent medical advice from your GP. If you have already approached your GP but are worried your condition may have been misdiagnosed, contact your GP practice and ask for a second opinion.

The Correct Course for Diagnosis of bowel cancer

If you present to your doctor with any of the aforementioned symptoms he or she should make a very detailed history of their extent and severity. They may then conduct a digital rectal examination to check for lumps or significant build-ups of mass within the rectum. Blood and stool samples may also be taken to provide as much information as possible on the patient’s health.

Your doctor may then draw on these examinations and their professional judgement to ascertain whether or not suspicions of bowel cancer warrant further investigation. Where they do, you should be referred urgently to a Gastroenterologist within a maximum timeframe of two weeks.

A specialist will then conduct a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, examining the rectum by inserting a thin, flexible tube attached to a small camera. Detailed X-rays may be taken of the bowel, and some small samples of tissue may also be removed for biopsy.

Effective Treatment

Where a bowel cancer diagnosis is confirmed, a multidisciplinary team of specialists including the likes of specialist cancer surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, radiographers and specialist nurses should be assembled to determine the best course of action.

Depending on the size and aggression of the cancer, as well as its effect on your health, the team may then elect to pursue any or all of the following treatment methods:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Biological therapy

Surgery is the preferred method of treatment, but where the disease is not identified soon enough – particularly in cases of bowel cancer misdiagnosis – other methods of treatment become the only viable path.


Get free initial claims advice

No two cancer misdiagnosis claims are the same. This means you will need to speak to a specialist medical negligence lawyer in order to discuss the circumstances of your diagnosis and wider medical care with them so that they can advise you. Blackwater Law provide free initial advice to anyone thinking about making a claim for compensation, or who is simply curious as to whether they may be eligible to claim. If we believe you may be entitled to claim compensation for bowel cancer misdiagnosis, we will agree to act for you on a no win, no fee basis.

Get expert legal advice

Call and speak to Dominic Graham, specialist medical negligence solicitor, today. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500

From start to finish, excellent communications. Exceeded all expectations. Would recommend to anyone seeking representation. Thank you for all your help and support.

Mr Dicken, Blackwater Law Client


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