Late Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer compensation claims
Pancreatic cancer is one of the cancers with the poorest prognosis, sadly with a 5-year survival rate of just 5%.
We are often asked 'How do I claim compensation for a late diagnosis for pancreatic cancer?' Pancreatic cancer as with most cancers if it is detected early the survival rates and quality of life after treatment or surgery result in much better outcomes. But if there have been mistakes by a misdiagnosis or delays in diagnosis or treatment, as specialist solicitors we can help you claim compensation for the unnecessary pain and suffering. If a loved one has sadly died, we can help claim compensation on behalf of the deceased's estate, usually the next of kin of the surviving partner, husband or wife or children of the deceased.
Diagnosis most often occurs at an advanced stage of the disease, when the tumour can no longer be operated on. However if detected early, when learning of the prognosis there is an increase in survival rates and better outcomes. If this chance is lost because the medical experts treating you have failed due to a misdiagnosis or delays in detecting the pancreatic cancer, then you may have a claim for clinical negligence.
Over 90% of patients, who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer as an emergency presentation, will sadly die within a year, and only four in ten will survive more than one month.
The numbers of men and women diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, in Accident and Emergency (A&E), is double the number of people diagnosed with all types of cancer.
44% of men and women diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015 were diagnosed in A&E. The majority of these patients, over 3,600 did not know they had pancreatic cancer until they arrived at Accident and Emergency, by which time the cancer was so advanced that only 400 people survived longer than a year.
Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose because it can share symptoms with diseases other than cancer, there is a chronic lack of awareness about what the symptoms actually are. The most common symptom reported for pancreatic cancer is abdominal pain, which is usually associated with a number of other conditions. At first, patients and healthcare professionals may dismiss these symptoms as ‘nothing to worry about’ which is why, when the pain becomes excruciating, patients end up presenting at A&E.
What is the Pancreas?
The pancreas is a glandular organ surrounded by the stomach and intestines; the pancreas plays a vital role in digestion by producing enzymes, breaking down food that we have eaten. It also produces insulin.
Due to learning the importance of the pancreas, it is shocking to learn that there has been minor improvement in terms of survival in the past 40 years.
To further this claim; using statistics from Cancer Research UK. In the 1970’s 1% of people diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer survived their disease beyond ten years, it is still 1% now.
This shows a trend of late diagnoses of Pancreatic Cancer in the UK, a trend in which could be classed as medical negligence. If you believe you have been diagnosed late, please get in touch.
Spot The Signs:
The symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer may not be prevalent until the cancer has spread and progressed to a later stage. This shows the vital importance of getting the cancer diagnosed quickly and effectively, medical professionals and the general public must work together in getting check-ups completed in order to reduce the mortality rate of this disease; as well as preventing further medical negligence.
Due to the symptoms being hard to spot until the cancer is at a later stage, the signs can be difficult to spot. If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, please speak to a medical professional immediately:
- Stomach / Back Pain
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Changes to Bowel habits
- Jaundice (Skin turns a yellow colour and is itchy).
- Blood Clots (any recent DVT’s)
All symptoms should be treated with equal concern, however; the most noticeable is Jaundice, as it appears at the later stages of Pancreatic Cancer. Speak to a medical professional immediately if you are experiencing any symptoms.
Stages of Pancreatic Cancer
It is vital to understand the stages of pancreatic cancer in order to realise the importance of getting the cancer diagnosed at an earlier stage.
There are four main stages to Pancreatic Cancer, each progressively worse and more dangerous the stages are:
Stage 1: The cancer is contained inside the pancreas, called ‘localised Pancreatic Cancer’. Surgery may be possible at this stage.
Stage 2: The cancer may have grown larger and spread to lymph nodes surrounding the pancreas, surgery is possible depending on how far the cancer has spread.
Stage 3: The cancer has spread further outside your pancreas; often call ‘locally advanced pancreatic cancer. If unfortunate and the cancer has spread near major blood vessels surrounding the pancreas, the cancer is called, ‘resectable cancer’
Stage 4: the cancer has spread to other parts of your body, often called ‘advanced’ or ‘metastatic cancer’.
Essential Medication Not Being Prescribed
A recent study conducted by the University of Birmingham has found that almost half of people diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer are not being prescribed essential tablets which are preventing patients from starving to death, as well as less able to tolerate treatment due to not being physically strong enough; the tablets not being prescribed are extremely inexpensive.
The tablets not being prescribed are known as part of Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy (PERT). This therapy targets the enzymes; this is because when the Pancreatic Cancer grows, is stops the pancreas producing the necessary enzymes needed to digest food and absorb the nutrients. The tablets are essential in helping patients to eat, and to stay healthy enough to tolerate the treatment as well as managing the symptoms of the cancer.
The study conducted by the university involved an audit of 1,350 patients with Pancreatic Cancer, the study found that of the patients who had been diagnosed too late to have surgery (the only cure for the disease), just 45% were prescribed PERT, compared to 74% of Pancreatic Cancer patients who were diagnosed early enough to have the surgery. This shows a pattern of Medical Negligence.
How PERT Links to Medical Negligence
Medical Negligence is the substandard care carried out by a medical professional (either by the NHS or private health care) that has directly lead to the patients suffering in terms of directly causing an injury, or causing a pre-existing one to worsen.
Due to Pancreatic Cancer usually being diagnosed at such a late stage, to the point where survival rates are around 5% for five years and over; it's a shock to learn that medication which can drastically improve the lives of Pancreatic Cancer patients is not being prescribed. This is Medical Negligence.
There is already Medical Negligence in terms of late diagnoses and misdiagnoses of Pancreatic Cancer (potentially due to the hard to spot symptoms), not taking into account the fact that PERT tablets are not being prescribed. If you believe this is you, you may be entitled to claim for compensation.
To read our articles on Medical Negligence, and to contact Leading Liverpool Medical Negligence Solicitors, click the link below:
See: - Hutcheon Law
Contact: Contact Us | Hutcheon Law
How Can I Make A Claim?
If you received a misdiagnosis or delayed cancer diagnosis, you should be able to claim for medical negligence. For more information on who can claim see our specialist website: dependency claims, who can claim.
When a loved one has died due to misdiagnosis of cancer, it’s possible to recover compensation on their behalf. You may be able to claim if you are the spouse or child of the deceased, or if you’re the parent of a child. Often there is a three-year time limit after the date of the death to make a claim so you must provide your solicitor with instructions quickly. The three year period may be extended. However, the sooner a claim is made the better.
In any case, a delay to cancer treatment often means the disease could spread further, reducing the chance of survival. If you can prove your delayed cancer diagnosis was caused by medical negligence, then you may have a claim.
If you think you are eligible for a Clinical Negligence Claim. Call On: 0151 724 7121. Or, get in contact via our
Website: Contact Us | Hutcheon Law