Breast Cancer Negligence Claims – How To Claim Compensation

A diagnosis of breast cancer will probably cause confusion, worry, fright and, in some cases, anger. This could be the case if you’ve suffered medical negligence in breast cancer care which caused a delay in receiving treatment.

In this guide, we aim to explain when you could claim compensation following misdiagnosed breast cancer. We’ll provide examples of when a doctor or medical professional could be liable for your suffering, what you should do following a late diagnosis of breast cancer, and how you could make a No Win No Fee personal injury claim against the negligent third party.

Breast cancer medical negligence

Breast cancer medical negligence

At Medical Negligence Assist, we have a team of specialist advisers who can assess your claim free of charge.  If we feel you have a strong case, you could be introduced to one of our medical negligence solicitor who boasts up to 30 years’ experience handling medical negligence and other personal injury claims for clients in the past.

If you’d like to find out more today, please call us on 0800 652 3087. Our advisers are waiting to help you.

Alternatively, to find out more about when you could claim for breast cancer medical negligence, please carry on reading this helpful guide.

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Breast Cancer Medical Negligence Claims Explained

This guide provides information about when you could sue for medical negligence.  Whether it’s for NHS negligence, or private healthcare negligence, we provide examples and scenarios of when you might be entitled to file a claim for compensation against a negligent third party.

We understand that you might have a number of questions about misdiagnosed breast cancer and as such we’ll try to answer as many as we can. If your question isn’t answered in this guide, please get in touch and speak with one of our specialists.

Some of the more common questions we aim to cover include:

  • “Can breast cancer be misdiagnosed?”
  • “Can you get compensation for misdiagnosed breast cancer?”
  • “What are the implications of delayed breast cancer diagnosis?”
  • “Can you sue a doctor for emotional distress?”

To answer one of these questions, you might be able to sue a medical professional who’s caused you to suffer due to negligence. This means, if your breast cancer wasn’t diagnosed properly at the earliest opportunity, by a GP or cancer specialist, you might be able to sue them but only if their negligence caused you to suffer harm. We’ll cover this in more detail later in this guide.

We also provide some statistics about breast cancer, and cover cancer misdiagnosis cases which could give grounds to file a negligence claim.

You would need to make your claim within the personal injury claims time limit which stands at  3-years. For breast cancer, the time limit is likely to begin from the date your cancer was diagnosed, rather than the date you first visited a medical professional. If you’re in any doubt, call our team who’ll assess the details of your claim and determine the time limit associated with your case.

An Overview Of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is more common than any other type of cancer in the UK. It’s most prevalent in women aged over 50 but it can affect younger women too. In very rare cases, it is possible for men to be diagnosed with breast cancer too.

We’ll cover the symptoms of breast cancer later in this guide but, according to the NHS, women should visit a GP for an examination if they spot any changes in their breasts and should do so as early as possible.

The reason breast cancer occurs isn’t fully understood but there are some factors known to increase the chance of breast cancer which includes the following:

  • Having a family history of breast cancer
  • As you get older, the risk increases
  • Obesity, being overweight and also being tall are risk factors
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Having had a previous lump (benign) or breast cancer diagnosis

If a doctor or cancer specialist suspects breast cancer following an examination, a mammography might be performed, or a biopsy taken to establish the type of breast cancer you have.

Understanding Different Types Of Breast Cancer

Knowing what type of breast cancer you have is vital. It means that the doctor or team caring for you can offer the right form of treatment.

The different types of breast cancer that can be diagnosed are:

  • DCIS (Dual Carcinoma In Situ)
    This type of cancer is usually spotted during breast screening. It is where cancer cells are spotted in the ducts of the breast only, and they have not spread into the breast tissue
  • Invasive Breast Cancer
    As opposed to DCIS, the cancer cells have spread beyond the ducts and into the breast tissue
  • Lobular Breast Cancer (Invasive)
    This is one of the more difficult breast cancers to diagnose. Around 10% of breast cancers begin in the breast lobes and aren’t always spotted by a mammogram (so an MRI scan may be required)
  • Ductal Breast Cancer (Invasive)
    Ductal breast cancer is much more common and accounts for around 80% of cancers
  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer
    This is a rare type of cancer. It results in the breast becoming swollen or inflamed because the cancer sells block the lymph vessels in the skin
  • Paget’s Disease
    Women with Paget’s disease could have either invasive cancer or DCIS. The primary symptom of Paget’s disease is a scaly red rash on the nipple skin

Whichever type of breast cancer you have, a medical negligence claim might be possible if you visited a doctor who failed to diagnose the cancer or they failed to refer you for further tests which caused you to suffer further harm, or your prognosis to worsen when your condition was finally correctly diagnosed.

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Women

There are many campaigns advertising that women should check their breasts regularly to spot for signs of cancer. Here are some of the most common  symptoms according to the NHS:

  • Lumps in the breast which are new
  • Discharge from either breast which is bloodstained
  • Lumps or swelling in the armpits
  • A change in the size, or shape, of one or both breasts
  • Rashes around the nipple
  • If your nipple’s appearance changes. For instance, if it becomes sunken into the breast
  • Any form of dimpling on the breasts

It’s worth noting that breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer. Also, the NHS states that 90% of lumps in the breast are not cancerous but you should still ask your GP for advice because the earlier breast cancer is correctly diagnosed, the better.

Correct Diagnosis And Treatment Of Breast Cancer

It’s important that if you spot any of the symptoms above, you visit a GP so that your breasts can be examined. A GP will perform an assessment and if they are concerned, they will refer you to a specialist at a breast cancer clinic. The assessment will include taking a look at your medical history, your lifestyle and any family history of cancer.

When you visit the breast clinic, the specialist could perform the following:

  • A mammogram. This is an x-ray of your breasts which could show any lumps or growths
  • An ultrasound. Women who are under the age of 35 have denser breasts which might make a mammogram less effective. In these cases, the specialist might use an ultrasound instead
  • A biopsy. This is where a doctor will use a small needle to take a sample of cells from any lump for testing. You will be awake during a biopsy but will have a local anaesthetic to numb the breast

If breast cancer is diagnosed following testing, there are a number of treatments available. These include:

  • Surgery to remove the cancer
  • Chemotherapy treatment
  • Radiotherapy treatment
  • Biological therapy
  • Hormone therapy

The doctor will use a number of factors to decide which treatment you’ll receive. This can include your general health, how far advanced your cancer is (stage and grade), and whether you’ve been through the menopause or not. They could also use a combination of different treatments listed above

While most patients who attend a clinic for cancer testing are assessed correctly, a medical negligence lawyer could help seek a cancer misdiagnosis settlement if you’re given the all clear but later find out the diagnosis was incorrect.

Breast Cancer Facts And Statistics

For your information, here are some breast cancer statistics from Cancer Research UK:

  • Between 2014 and 2016, on average, there were around 55,200 new cases of invasive breast cancer in the UK (around 150 a day)
  • Around 78% of women survived breast cancer between 2010 and 2011 in the UK
  • Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK. In 2016, 15% of all cancer diagnoses were for breast cancer

For a full range of breast cancer statistics, please take a look at this web site.

Misdiagnosis Of Breast Cancer By A GP

The GP service offered by the NHS is known to be extremely good. The GP’s knowledge is so broad that within a 10-minute appointment they can often assess your problem, diagnose the cause and provide you with treatment or medication to resolve an issue you may be suffering from.

In cancer cases though, the GP can’t do any more than spot the possibility of cancer before referring you to a specialist clinic for further assessment and tests.

If they fail to do this and it causes your cancer to spread further, or your symptoms to worsen because of a delay in treatment, you could seek compensation because of their misdiagnosis.

If you’ve been sent away by a GP with medication for another condition, or told you had a minor ailment that would resolve itself and subsequently found out that you had breast cancer, you could be eligible to make a medical negligence compensation claim.

Please get in touch to discuss your options. One of our specialists will assess your claim and let you know whether you could be entitled to sue your GP or not.

Failures In Screening For Breast Cancer

The NHS operates a screening programme for many cancers including breast cancer. The system can be age based, or screening could be targeted at those with potential risk factors. Whichever method is used, the NHS should contact the patient, in good time, to let them know their screening is due.

The methods used to identify those who need screening and those used to ensure they’re contacted on time, has improved over the years with more robust systems using modern technology.

However, in cases where the NHS fails to contact you, and you become ill with cancer, a compensation claim could be made. If your screening had taken place on time your cancer might have been spotted earlier which could mean you would have suffered less, or your prognosis would have been that much better.

Delays In Diagnosing Breast Cancer

Many forms of cancer, including breast cancer, have a better chance of being successfully treated if they are spotted early. The sooner treatment begins, the better the outcome could be.

Therefore, if a doctor or other medical professional fails to spot your breast cancer, you could seek compensation if their error caused you to suffer further.

This could be because:

  • You suffered worse symptoms because of the delay in treatment
  • The delay caused your cancer to spread and the cancer stage to increase
  • You had to undergo more painful treatment due to the delay
  • The cancer became inoperable because of the misdiagnosis

Our panel of solicitors could help you to begin a claim for medical negligence in cancer care if you feel that you have been let down and your condition was made that much worse. Please get in touch for a free assessment today.

Errors And Negligence In Breast Cancer Surgery

Going ‘under the knife’ for any form of surgery can be both scary and worrying. You must have complete faith in the surgeon, their team and trust them to remove or reduce the cancer successfully without causing you any other problems.

It could be possible to claim compensation following breast cancer surgery if:

  • You suffered any type of injury during the surgery
  • Where the surgeon didn’t follow the correct procedure, and this caused you to suffer unnecessarily
  • If you suffered pain because of an error by the anaesthetist
  • If you became ill following an infection because of poor hygiene during surgery or post-operative care
  • When you suffer an injury during surgery where the risks of the surgery were not explained to you prior to treatment

Surgical mistakes could be claimed against the NHS or private healthcare providers.  If you believe you have a valid claim following breast cancer surgical treatment, please call for a free assessment of your case today.

How Much Could I Claim For Breast Cancer Negligence?

It’s impossible to state an average payout for cancer misdiagnosis because every claim is different. Therefore, the best way to find out how much compensation you could receive following medical negligence in breast cancer care, is to speak with a member of our team for a free assessment. Only then will we have all the facts about your case to base an estimate on.

That said, we can show you what types of compensation can be included in your claim. These, legally, are known as heads of loss. They can include:

  • General Damages
    This is the compensation that’s awarded to cover the pain and suffering caused by your breast cancer misdiagnosis
  • Travelling Expenses
    You’ll probably have to make numerous trips to and from the hospital or clinic during your cancer treatment. If that’s the case, you could claim for fuel and parking costs – special damages
  • Medication Costs
    Some NHS trusts provide free cancer medication while others offer it at a reduced cost or monthly fee. If you have to pay for any prescription costs or over the counter medication, you could claim the money back as part of your claim – special damages
  • Care Costs
    If you’re unable to cope while you’re being treated for breast cancer and have to pay for professional care to support you, the cost of their service might be claimed back – special damages
  • Lost Income
    When you take time off work for medical appointments or because you feel unable to work, if your salary is reduced, you might be able to claim the lost earnings back. In long-term cases, where you can’t return to work, you might be able to seek future loss of earnings too – – special damages

Financial Claims

Many of the financial claims above are known as special damages. They could be included in any NHS breast cancer misdiagnosis payouts but you should keep receipts to support the claim. It’s a good idea to keep a diary or log of all expenses that you incur because of your cancer misdiagnosis.

Your personal injury solicitor is a good person to check with before committing to too many expenses. They’ll be able to explain whether you’re likely to get your money back or not.

No Win No Fee Claims For Medical Negligence In Breast Cancer Care

We often hear two questions from new clients:

  1. “Can you sue for misdiagnosis of breast cancer?”, followed by
  2. “How much will a solicitor cost me?”

It’s understandable that you’ll worry about the legal cost of a claim. That’s why we have a panel of solicitors who work on a No Win No Fee basis for all claims they take on.

When using No Win No Fee structure, you don’t need to pay the solicitor any funds at all. There’s no up-front fee, nothing to pay if they lose and if they win, their success fee is taken from the compensation automatically.

This means the financial risk and stress involved with a claim is reduced and it also means more people could be able to begin a claim and receive the compensation they could be entitled to.

How Medical Negligence Assist Could Help Victims Of Negligent Breast Cancer Care

Our team of specialist advisers are here to help with any medical negligence in breast cancer care. We offer a free assessment of your claim and free legal advice. When you call, we’ll look at what happened, what evidence you have to support your claim and how you were affected by your misdiagnosed breast cancer.

If we think you have a strong case, we would introduce you to a personal injury solicitor. They’ll have up to 30 years claims handling experience and will try to ensure you receive the right level of compensation for your injuries. We only work with solicitors who offer a No Win No Fee service to ensure your claim is as stress free as possible.

To get in touch with us, you can:

  • Call our team on 0800 652 3087. We’re available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day
  • Fill in this online form to request a call back at a convenient time

Please get in touch, even if you’re unsure whether you have the grounds to claim. We’ll help you decide and point you in the right direction if you need any further evidence before claiming.

Breast Cancer Patient And Claimant Resources

You’ve now reached the end of this guide about medical negligence in breast cancer care. If you require any further information, please feel free to get in touch. To help you further, we’ve provided some more useful guides and information below:

Breast Cancer Information – Information from Cancer Research UK about breast cancer symptoms, risks and treatment options.

Living with Breast Cancer – This guide from the NHS explains how breast cancer can affect everyday life and the types of support available.

Other types of Cancer – Another guide from the NHS but this one covers other types of cancer as well.

GP Negligence – A guide which could be used to help with medical negligence breast cancer cases against GPs.

Other Misdiagnosis Claims

Written by BH

Editor Honey