The number of people developing cancer is increasing at a rate of 1% per year. But rather than being due to lifestyle or environmental issues as the popular press may have you believe, most experts will agree that it is simply due to an aging population. In real terms, it appears that there has only been a slight increase in the number of reported cancer cases over the past forty years, and even this increase could be attributable to a better understanding of the disease and more advanced screening and detection methods. However, with a greater physical number of cancers now identifiable, there is also a higher risk of cancer misdiagnosis.
The significance of cancer misdiagnosis is that cancer develops in four stages. While the cancer is in stage one or two and localised, it can be far more effectively treated. Once it reaches stages three and four, the cancer has often metastasised or spread to other organs throughout the body. Although still treatable, the survival rate in cases of advanced cancer is much lower than when the disease is identified at an early stage. With so much information available to individuals and medical practitioners alike, it is inconceivable that there should be any cases of cancer misdiagnosis. The media has in fact done an excellent job in advising people of the early warning signs, yet one of the leading reasons for medical negligence compensation claims is cancer misdiagnosis.
Examples of Cancer Misdiagnosis
The three most prevalent examples of cancer misdiagnosis are:-
Breast Cancer – Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer misdiagnosis. The main reason for this is that most breast cancers develop in women over 50 years of age – a younger woman visiting a doctor with fears about a lump which has developed may be dismissed with the cancer misdiagnosis of a cyst or blocked milk duct.
Lung Cancer – The misdiagnosis of lung cancer is usually attributable to the patient suffering a similar complaint at the same time. Illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can all mask lung cancer and lead to a doctor making a cancer misdiagnosis when he fails to identify the symptoms correctly.
Colon Cancer – The early stage symptoms of colon cancer are very similar to haemorrhoids, and in many cases the patients themselves are embarrassed about visiting a doctor and undergoing a colonoscopy. Even when they do, a doctor may still be guilty of a cancer misdiagnosis if he fails to identify the symptoms of colon cancer.
Ovarian, cervical, prostate and pancreatic cancers are amongst other forms of the disease frequently misdiagnosed and, in many cases, a cancer misdiagnosis will lead to the individual becoming sicker, unable to work and experiencing a deterioration in their quality of life. Victims of cancer misdiagnosis have to undergo far more invasive and advanced medical treatment than if the disease had been discovered at an early stage, and are more at risk from dying from the cancer.
Compensation for Cancer Misdiagnosis
If you have lost a loved one, or are yourself suffering as the result of a cancer misdiagnosis, it is in your best interests to speak with a solicitor. The consequences of a cancer misdiagnosis to you and your family are substantial, and the physical and psychological effect of discovering that you are in the late stages of a cancer can be devastating. Although compensation for cancer misdiagnosis will not remove the disease, or bring back a loved one who was the victim of a cancer misdiagnosis, it can ensure that you receive the highest quality of care and ensure financial security for your family.
Compensation claims for cancer misdiagnosis are dealt with by the court system rather than by the Injuries Board Ireland. As a compensation claim for cancer misdiagnosis has to show that the medical practitioner missed symptoms which were clearly recognisable at the time, your solicitor´s presentation of your claim to the court has to be supported by a senior medical expert who will give evidence that the cancer misdiagnosis was avoidable, and that the doctor who initially examined you was indeed negligent in his duty of care to you.
Awards of compensation for cancer misdiagnosis will vary widely depending on the effect the cancer misdiagnosis has had on you or a loved one, and how soon after the cancer misdiagnosis the cancer was identified correctly. The date of the correct identification is extremely important, as it is from this date that you have two years to make a claim for cancer misdiagnosis compensation according to the Statute of Limitations in Ireland. In some instances, you may be approached by the Health and Safety Executive or an insurance company representing the negligent medical practitioner before your claim for cancer misdiagnosis is presented in court. They will be willing to make an offer of early settlement when your solicitor has compiled a strong case on your behalf. Your solicitor will be able to advise you if their offer represents a fair and adequate amount of cancer misdiagnosis compensation.
Further Information about Cancer Misdiagnosis
If you would like to understand more about how the services of a solicitor can help when you have been the victim of cancer misdiagnosis, please contact our free cancer misdiagnosis advice service. This service gives you an opportunity to speak with an experienced solicitor and discuss your claim for cancer misdiagnosis compensation in complete confidentiality and without any obligation to proceed with a claim once you have spoken with us.
You can contact the free cancer misdiagnosis service by calling 1800 989 995 from 8.00am until 10.00pm, seven days a week, or by completing your contact details in the call-back box on this page. Our solicitors will be able to provide you with practical and helpful advice and provide information on the procedures for making a claim for cancer misdiagnosis, whether it has affected you or a member of your family.