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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 you’ve suffered from bowel cancer misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation.
Where it can be proven that the standard of care you were provided with fell below what might reasonably be expected from a qualified physician, and that this failure has had an impact on your health and the likely outcome of your condition, you may be entitled to commence a bowel cancer misdiagnosis claim.
There are a number of failures that can lead to bowel cancer misdiagnosis. During the course of a medical examination, GPs, doctors and other clinical staff have all been known to miss key symptoms of bowel cancer. They may fail to carry out the necessary examinations that could lead to a successful diagnosis. In other cases, these tests may have been prescribed by your doctor, but a referral to a specialist is not actually made, not made in a timely fashion, or isn’t undertaken to a satisfactory standard.
Other examples of negligence potentially providing grounds for compensation for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer include where some of the symptoms of bowel cancer were observed, but mistakenly attributed to another, 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 bowel cancer misdiagnosis claim, is to speak with a specialist medical negligence solicitor who has experience in all types of cancer claims.
The medical negligence team at Blackwater Law solicitors are recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the leading teams of clinical negligence solicitors in the South East. This independent recognition is based on research into our team’s expertise, their experience in dealing with a wide range of highly complex medical negligence claim cases, and also feedback from surveys of medical specialists and previous clients.
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’ll therefore face no financial risk when 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 misdiagnosis claim.
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.
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:
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 any of the following signs, they should be carrying out adequate diagnostic measures to avoid delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of bowel cancer:
Early symptoms of bowel cancer 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 that you or a family member may have bowel cancer but it hasn’t 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.
If you present to your doctor 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.
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 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 may become the only viable path.
No two cancer misdiagnosis claims are the same. This means you will need to speak to a specialist medical negligence solicitor about the circumstances of your bowel cancer diagnosis so that they can advise you. Blackwater Law provide free initial advice to anyone thinking about making a claim for bowel cancer misdiagnosis compensation, or anyone 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.
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