Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis
Failure to detect breast cancer at an early stage can result in the condition developing when it could otherwise have been treated. This can obviously have very serious consequences, and it is therefore essential that if you have suffered in this way you are able to make a breast cancer misdiagnosis claim to help you financially with regard your treatment.
The team at Hospital Negligence has the skill and experience to give you the very best chance of securing the outcome you deserve. If you feel that your doctor could have done more to diagnose your breast cancer sooner, speak to us to find out if you can make a claim. Contact us on 0800 014 7481 or, if you would prefer us to contact you, leave your details via our online enquiry form.
Read About Claims We Have Handled:
Case study: botched breast cancer surgery - £55,000
Harriett was left psychologically scarred after a breast reconstruction following a double mastectomy went wrong and resulted in a very poor appearance of her breasts. The surgeon who conducted the operation failed to ensure Harriett was advised of all the options for reconstructive surgery so that she could make an informed choice.
Further, the surgery was also carried out to a poor standard leaving Harriett with ongoing pain and restricted movement in her back and shoulder. The whole ordeal caused Harriett to develop depression and anxiety.
Harriett’s case was taken on by one of the medical law experts at Hospital Negligence. Although the surgeon refused to admit that he was responsible for Harriet’s suffering, a compensation settlement of £55,000 was secured for her.
Poor advice from surgeon
When 65-year-old Harriett was diagnosed with breast cancer she was referred to the surgeon to discuss having a mastectomy and the options for reconstruction. Harriett was to have a left-sided mastectomy and she wanted to have a breast reconstruction done at the same time. The surgeon advised Harriett that doing the reconstruction at the same time was not a good idea and that she should wait a while as she was likely to need further treatment. However he failed to properly discuss the options for reconstructive surgery with her, develop a plan of action or refer her for a second opinion.
Following the mastectomy Harriett underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy and after a consultation with the surgeon the possibility of her having a preventative right mastectomy was discussed. Three months later Harriett saw the surgeon again and said she wanted to get a second opinion on the appropriate surgery for her. The surgeon said he could send her to five different surgeons and they would all say that she required the same form of surgery. Several weeks later Harriett underwent the right-sided mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
Poor appearance and other complications
A month after the surgery, Harriett was experiencing pain in the surgical scar and down her back. She also had tightness in her chest and back and a twitching sensation. All her symptoms were getting gradually worse. However most upsetting for Harriett was the physical appearance of her breasts, which was very poor. She underwent a further operation under the surgeon which resulted in little improvement.
After several consultations with the surgeon he said he could do nothing more for her. She subsequently sought out a second opinion and underwent revision surgery which resulted in some improvement, although this was limited. Harriett also suffers continuing pain and discomfort.
While nothing could make up for what Harriett has been through, the compensation secured for her helped her to obtain professional help for the psychological problems she was left with.
Case study: cancer of the lymph nodes caused by delay in diagnosing breast cancer - £90,000
Pauline developed cancer in some of her lymph nodes after doctors failed to diagnose her breast cancer in good time causing it to spread. Lymph nodes can be found throughout the body and play a vital role in our immune system by collecting and helping to remove fluid, waste material, viruses and infections
Pauline had to have some of her lymph nodes removed after they became cancerous and she was left with a condition called lymphedema. This causes swelling because the lymphatic fluid collects in the tissue.
Lump and calcification deemed not cancerous
When Pauline found a lump in one of her breasts she went to see her GP who referred her to hospital. The lump was not found to be cancerous and it was removed with a straight forward procedure.
It was during the course of this treatment that doctors discovered a small area of calcium in Pauline’s other breast. Breast calcifications are common and in most cases harmless however they can sometimes contain cancerous cells and so need to be checked out.
A biopsy of the calcification was taken and Pauline was relieved to be told that it had not been found to be cancerous. Pauline was advised to return a year later to have a mammogram to check her breasts and ensure all was well. However when she attended this appointment a mammogram was not performed.
Breast cancer found at a follow-up
At further follow up appointment a year later the same right breast which had calcified previously was found to be hard. A mammogram and biopsy revealed that Pauline was suffering from breast cancer.
Pauline needed to have a mastectomy and radiotherapy to cure her of the cancer and was left with permanent lymphedema.
After feeling that something had gone wrong with her care Pauline asked the specialist medical negligence team at Hospital Negligence to investigate. This revealed errors that had led to a delay in diagnosing Pauline’s cancer by one to two years and this had caused it to spread to her lymph nodes.
Pauline was later awarded £90,000 to compensate her for her suffering and the permanent health problems she was left with.
About Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis
More than one in ten women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and early detection, through self-examination and mammograms, is a key factor in successful treatment and higher survival rates. Cancer of the breast often responds well to early treatment, however sometimes even after a woman feels a lump, her cancer may go undetected for months due to medical negligence. This results in more legal claims for cancer of the breast than any other disease.
Often, the victims of undetected cancer are younger women and doctors may rely too heavily on negative mammogram results, even if the woman has felt a lump. Younger women's breast tissue is denser and a mammogram may miss small tumours. In addition, doctors may rely too heavily on a woman's age as a predicting factor, as breast cancer is more often associated with older women and doctors may not always take younger women's complaints seriously.
Medical negligence refers to when a healthcare provider has caused harm to a patient by failing to provide the care or meet the standard of care that the patient required. Examples of breast cancer medical negligence include:
- Failure to perform a breast examination (during a physical or while treating the patient for other reasons), which would have identified a clinically obvious tumour
- Failure to identify an obvious lump during a breast examination
- Failure to arrange mammogram x-rays, ultrasound, CT scans or MRI scans
- Failure to properly evaluate biopsy or test results
- Mistaking a tumour for an infection or diagnosing the tumour as benign
- Failure to follow up on test results
- Failure to order a biopsy
- Failure to order future tests
- Failure to follow up with the patient
- Disregarding a history of sharp pain in the breast
- Failure to determine the cause of nipple discharge
- Failure to recognise common symptoms
Cancer treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation, is designed to kill living cells, but the pain and suffering and financial hardship this can bring can be horrendous. Early diagnosis may mean less pain and suffering, less financial hardship and a greater chance of survival.
Negligent breast cancer surgery
You may also be in a position to claim compensation if - either in addition to or instead of a breast cancer misdiagnosis - you suffer from negligent breast cancer surgery. This can relate to failings in breast cancer care, which, rather than successfully treating the cancer, can lead to a worsening of symptoms, the further spreading of cancer, reduced treatment options and even a shortening of life expectancy.
Negligence in breast cancer treatment can occur during:
- Staging - This is when the level of the cancer is assessed
- Surgery - This is the operation to remove the cancer
- Monitoring - This is the monitoring of the patient following the surgery
- Radiotherapy/chemotherapy - These therapies may be used to eradicate the cancer
If you have been treated negligently in any stage of your breast cancer treatment, speak to our solicitors today.
Talk to Us
If you believe that your doctor has been negligent and you would like free advice on our no win, no fee compensation claim service, phone us on 0800 014 7481 or complete our online contact form and one of our medical negligence experts will phone you back to discuss your breast cancer misdiagnosis claim in more detail.