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Cancer Misdiagnosis Solicitors
Cancerous cells grow and reproduce uncontrollably in a specific part of the body. During this process the cells can attack and destroy healthy tissue. These abnormal cells eventually form a lump which is known as a tumour.
Depending on what stage the cancer is at, cells can break away from the primary cancer and travel to other parts of the body to form a secondary cancer. This process is called metastasis.
Although there are hundreds of different types of cancer the most common forms in the UK are breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer. More than one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their life.
Treatment is very specific to the individual and will depend on what type of cancer they have and what stage the disease has reached at the time of their diagnosis. There is no single treatment for cancer.
Many cancer sufferers will undergo surgery as a first step to remove tumours, if the cancer has taken this form. Other commonly used treatments are:
Almost half of cancer sufferers will have radiotherapy as part of their treatment. Radiotherapy is a treatment that employs high energy rays in the area affected and it works by permanently destroying the cancerous cells.
Radiotherapy treatment can either be given externally or internally. External radiotherapy uses a machine which concentrates high energy radiation into the area in need of treatment. Internal radiotherapy involves the patient ingesting a radioactive liquid or having a small piece of radioactive material temporarily place inside their body.
It is sometimes used alone or can be used in combination with chemotherapy to try and cure the cancer. It can also be used to try and shrink the size of a tumour prior to surgery or following surgical removal of a tumour to try and destroy any remaining cancerous cells.
Chemotherapy takes the form of medication which works to destroy cancer cells. These drugs are called cytotoxic, which means that they are toxic to cells. Chemotherapy drugs can cause damage to normal cells as well as cancerous cells, but whilst the normal cells can usually repair themselves, cancerous cells cannot.
Chemotherapy is sometimes used alone but can also be used in combination with other treatments including surgery, radiotherapy and hormonal therapy. The drugs can be given to patients either in tablet form or by injection.
Clinical Negligence Claims
Delay in recognising, diagnosing and treating a patient with symptoms of a certain type of cancer can lead to a clinical negligence claim. Symptoms of cancer sufferers can vary widely and will depend on the type of cancer - for example, symptoms of breast cancer may include a change in appearance of one or both breasts such as dimpling of the skin, discharge from the nipple and swelling around the armpits; symptoms of bowel cancer may include a change in bowel habits, the presence of blood in stools and abdominal pain.
The earlier that cancer is diagnosed then the better the patient’s chances are of survival. If the cancer has had the opportunity to spread to other parts of the body then it is more difficult to treat and the chances of curing the cancer are much lower.
Sometimes late diagnosis of cancer is due to patients not experiencing symptoms at an earlier stage whilst others may put off going to see their GP because they don’t believe that their symptoms are serious enough to warrant further investigation. However, there are also occasions where delays in diagnosis are caused by doctors overlooking symptoms of cancer and not carrying out appropriate investigations or failing to refer their patients for tests or treatment.
If you think you, or someone you know, may have suffered an injury as a result of negligent medical treatment and would like to speak with a member of the Minton Morrill clinical negligence team, contact us
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Our Experience of Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims