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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and as lung cancer is the biggest killer of all the cancers, it is a timely campaign.
It is not uncommon for any cancer to be misdiagnosed and for patients to receive the wrong treatment.
Just recently we have seen the story of Cindy, a 41 year old mother of two who had her cancer misdiagnosed as a mental health condition. By the time she received the correct diagnosis of a brain tumour and lung cancer, the condition was terminal and she was told she had just weeks to live.
Cindy had been receiving treatment for over a year for the wrong condition, and having been to the doctors with the complaint that her legs were painful and weak, finally got the correct diagnosis after suffering a fall at home and receiving a full body scan in hospital.
As with all cancers, the earlier a diagnosis is made, the greater the chance of survival. The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation states that lung cancer Is one of the most difficult cancers to treat and is often diagnosed at a very late stage.
Survival rates vary depending on at what stage the cancer is diagnosed, and how quickly treatment starts. However, across all stages, around just 30% will live for a year after being diagnosed. In the UK, less than 10% of those diagnosed with the disease will live for at least five years.
These figures show why it is so important to make people aware of the symptoms and get an early diagnosis.
Lung cancer is often associated with smoking but research shows that between 15-20% of those diagnosed have never smoked. If you have shown the symptoms of lung cancer but your GP dismissed your concerns because you have never smoked and you have subsequently been diagnosed with the disease, you may have grounds to make a compensation claim for medical negligence.