Cancer research and treatment has continued to progress over the last few years. However Covid-19 has significantly disrupted the system and, according to data from the UK’s National Health Service, urgent cancer referrals declined by 60 percent in April 2020 compared to April 2019.
This decline in referrals could seriously impact many cancer sufferers as early diagnosis and treatment will generally improve the prospects of recovery.
Coronavirus’s impact on cancer services
The decline in cancer referral rates is not the only part of the process that is being adversely affected. The target time for patients to be seen by a doctor after their referral is two weeks, however the median time patients waited in April was 12.2 weeks and the number of people who then began treatment after the referral dropped by 18 percent.
But why is Covid-19 having this effect on cancer services?
According to an article from the BBC, health care facilities have focused on care and treatment for patients with Covid-19 while scaling back other services—including those for cancer. Cancer Research UK estimates that nearly 2.4 million people are waiting for some form of cancer care, including screenings, tests, and treatments.
In order to reduce the spread of the virus, many of these vital services have been paused or postponed. In England, although screening services did not stop, the number of screenings and the promotion of screening services were reduced.
The significant drop in visits to A & E departments could also reflect the reluctance of the public to contact their GPs during the current pandemic.
The risks of late diagnosis and treatment
A late diagnosis could make it harder to treat the cancer and may result in more extensive treatment such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery.
An example of the problems with cancer services during the Covid-19 pandemic, was Mr. Sherwin Hall, who did not receive a cancer scan until the beginning of June, nearly three months after he noticed the symptoms and requested a scan.
His cancer journey began in March when he was misdiagnosed. Doctors said his pain was caused by prostatitis, a condition in which the prostate gland becomes inflamed. Mr Hall told the Guardian that he knew it had to be something else, and when he finally got the scan he needed in June, the prostate cancer had already spread to his lungs. The scan not only found a 14-cm tumor on his pelvis, but also 30 small tumors on his lungs. Now faced with cancer developing throughout his body, Mr Hall is considering a compensation claim for the late diagnosis of his cancer.
Cancers commonly misdiagnosed
Mr Hall’s prostate cancer is not the only type of cancer that is often misdiagnosed. There are several other types of cancer which are often misdiagnosed or diagnosed late:
- Cervical cancer is often misdiagnosed due to inaccurate or misinterpreted cervical smear results which could occur because of errors in specimen collection, errors in interpreting and reporting results, or errors in recommending proper follow up testing on abnormal smear results.
- Ovarian cancer is often misdiagnosed as IBS, diverticulitis, urinary tract infection, or changing menopausal status.
- Breast cancer misdiagnosis can often be caused by failed mammogram detections or mistaken symptoms for other conditions, including mastitis, cysts, fibrocystic breast disease, fibroids, fibroadenomas, fat necrosis, lipomas, or pseudo-angiomatous stromal hyperplasia.
- Bowel cancer is often misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, or even hemorrhoids.
- Lung cancer shares a lot of similar symptoms with other medical conditions, causing it to sometimes be misdiagnosed as pneumonia, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease, encysted lung effusion, lung abscesses, lung nodules, lymphoma, thoracic Hodgkin’s disease, pulmonary embolism, or tuberculosis.
- Bone cancer requires a lot of information for an accurate diagnosis, so bone cancer can often be misdiagnosed as bone infections or bone metastasis, which is different from primary bone cancer.
How to claim compensation for cancer misdiagnosis
If you, a family member or friend is considering claiming compensation for the late diagnosis or misdiagnosis of cancer, it recommended that you contact solicitors who specialise in medical negligence.
You may be able to able to bring a claim for cancer misdiagnosis if you have been:
- Given an incorrect cancer diagnosis
- Told you did not have cancer when you did
- Given the wrong treatment for your cancer
- Given a delayed diagnosis
The compensation awarded will not only reflect the harm that you or a loved one has sustained, but it could also provide:
- Support for future care or medical treatment required including travel expenses, equipment or home adaptations
- Support for financial losses you have incurred as a result of the injuries – including past loss of earnings, medical expenses, travel expenses and equipment costs
- Support for future financial losses eg earnings and salary, pension and promotion prospects
How to Claim Compensation For Cancer Misdiagnosis
To make a compensation claim for cancer misdiagnosis, speak to one of our medical negligence solicitors today. They will take the time to listen to the details of your case in an empathetic and caring manner and advise if you have grounds for a claim. Our team will assess whether the duty of care owed to you was breached, and whether breaching this duty of care caused your injuries. If so, are likely to have a strong case for compensation.
Your Solicitor will take strain off you and handle your case for you, including collating the necessary evidence (including medical records and correspondence) and will write to the organisation responsible for your care, stating the grounds for your claim. Our team are best placed to be able to understand the response and move your claim forward to a satisfactory resolution.
For more information on Devonshires Claims ‘No Win No Fee’ cancer misdiagnosis claims service or to start your free case evaluation, contact us today on 0333 577 9444, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online form.