Cancer misdiagnosis takes two forms. Firstly, cancer can be incorrectly diagnosed as being another condition and secondly, a person can be diagnosed with having cancer when they actually have another condition. Both of these types of misdiagnosis are very worrying and dangerous.
When a patient’s cancer is mistakenly diagnosed as being another condition, this means that the correct and necessary treatment will be delayed. In order for the treatment of cancer to be as effective as possible, it is usually extremely important for this to begin as soon as possible. Thus, any delay in diagnosis and treatment can have very serious consequences. Furthermore, when a person’s condition is misdiagnosed as being cancer, and they are wrongly informed that they have the disease, this can result in terrible psychological consequences for that person. Additionally, they may also have to endure invasive and unnecessary procedures and treatments.
In one reported case a patient was mistakenly diagnosed with a fatal brain tumour and he consequently gave away £30,000 believing that he didn’t have long to live. When his case was later reviewed, it was found that actually he had a completely treatable chronic infection. Moreover, in a recent case a patient was admitted to hospital as he was having breathing difficulties. He was then told that he had a ‘sizeable tumour’ on his lung and little treatment was given to him. However, several days later the doctors then informed his family that actually it was a pea on his lung which had gone down the wrong way. The pea had caused the patient to develop pneumonia and, because his initial diagnosis was wrong and the correct diagnosis was delayed, unfortunately the patient later died.
Women with cervical and ovarian cancer are also at the heart of the problem of misdiagnosed cancer. Both of these types of cancer are difficult to diagnose and are therefore often misdiagnosed as other conditions, such as IBS. Overall, it is totally unacceptable that GPs are regularly misdiagnosing cancer and not referring patients for the correct tests or to see specialists.
If you have been a victim of misdiagnosed cancer then you may be able to claim medical negligence compensation. Expert solicitors at Bolt Burdon Kemp have years of experience making successful medical negligence claims in cases relating to the delayed diagnosis of cancer, including ovarian and cervical cancer, and the misdiagnosis of cancer and consequent inappropriate treatment being given to a patient.