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5 Most common misdiagnosed Cancer Claims

A delay in cancer treatment or late diagnosis can in worse cases prove fatal or result in greater harm to the patient. It is absolutely vital that early detection and treatment is undertaken by the medical professionals to provide the best possible outcomes. With any undue delay the outlook may amount to unnecessary stress and possible greater harm to the patient. Should an unreasonable delay occur in a diagnosis or treatment of cancer that delays the diagnosis; can result in you making a claim for compensation for a delayed cancer misdiagnosis.  This is called a claim for clinical negligence or medical negligence.


What are the most misdiagnosed types of cancer?

With our knowledge and experience we have put together what we believe are the 5 most common types of cancers that are detected late or misdiagnosed:

  1. Breast Cancer
  2. Prostate Cancer
  3. Lung Cancer
  4. Pancreatic Cancer
  5. Colorectal Cancer

Other common cancers that are often delayed or misdiagnosed by the medical professionals are:

This list is not exhaustive, there are many other cancers that are detected late or misdiagnosed and if you are seeking clarity or some legal advice please get in touch with us now: contact us on how to make a claim for compensation due to a misdiagnoses of cancer.


Why is a Late Cancer Diagnosis So Damaging?

Cancer remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in England and Wales.

Being diagnosed with cancer is devastating for you and your family. But; if you’ve been given a delayed cancer diagnosis or a misdiagnosis of cancer, you may be eligible for a medical negligence claim.

Recent years have seen several published articles which suggest that cancer survival in the UK is among the worst anywhere in Europe and that late diagnosis of cancers in the UK may explain the poor survival rates compared with other countries. It is not surprising against this background that delayed cancer diagnosis claims are on the rise in the UK.

See: Cancer Survival Rates By Country 2021 (

Also See: File:Causes of death — malignant neoplasms, residents, 2017 Health20.png - Statistics Explained (


Cancer has an enormous impact, both in terms of the number of people affected by it and the individual impact it has on people with cancer and those close to them. More than 300,000 new cancers (excluding skin cancers) are diagnosed annually in the UK, across over 200 different cancer types. Each of these cancer types has different presenting features, though they sometimes overlap.

Approximately one-third of the population will develop a cancer in their lifetime. Furthermore, for every month that the cancer is not diagnosed the risk of death increases by 10%.

See: Every month delayed in cancer treatment can raise risk of death by around 10% | BMJ

As mentioned above; there are over 200 different types of Cancer, so misdiagnosis of cancer can sometimes occur. Many cancers share similar symptoms with other illnesses. As a result, doctors and medical professionals can sometimes make an incorrect diagnosis.

Cancer is more likely to be treated successfully if it’s detected early. However, around 115,000 cancer patients in England are diagnosed too late to give them the best chance of survival.

Late diagnosis of cancer can have a devastating and often fatal effect on your health, as any delay in treatment may allow more time for the cancer to spread. A hold up in the identification of your condition could be considered clinical negligence if a medical professional misses your symptoms and fails to provide the correct cancer diagnosis resulting in poor outcomes.

This can have a knock-on effect that slows down the process of organising medical care and could lead to late cancer treatment. In severe cases, this can come too late and sadly result in an avoidable or early death.


The Impact of COVID-19 on Medical Negligence Claims

The COVID-19 pandemic saw the suspension of cancer screening for a certain period, with only urgent cases prioritised for diagnosis. Its long-term impact is yet to be fully realised, but for some individuals it could have serious consequences, resulting in late cancer diagnosis due to Covid-19.  These delayed cancer diagnosis’ can have fatal implications and may entitle you to compensation.

See: Clinical Negligence Scheme for Coronavirus - NHS Resolution


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.

See: Claims | Hutcheon Law


What is a Clinical Negligence Claim for delayed cancer treatment?

A medical negligence claim (sometimes known as a ‘clinical negligence claim’) occurs when a patient takes their medical practitioner or hospital (or both) to court for compensation due to an acts or omissions that result in what lawyers call ‘negligence’ or ‘blame’ if the patient has been harmed.  For this to happen, the Claimant needs to prove that the care provided fell below the standard of a body of competent medical professionals would consider.

Claims can be made against your GP/ Medical Professionals for a number of reasons; a few of these areas include:

  • Failure to diagnose the onset of cancer.
  • Failure to complete a proper examination on a patient that was reasonable to undertake to diagnose possible cancer symptoms.
  • Failure to carry out ongoing assessments and tests once a diagnosis of cancer has been made.

There are other areas of negligence where you would be eligible for a claim.

It is often difficult to know early on whether your medical professionals were negligent in the cause of your suffering.  We will require your full medical history form your GP and hospital in order to find out where the medical professional went wrong and obtain expert evidence to establish if the treating GP or hospital did get it wrong.

Please contact us via our link below and we will advise you on whether or not you have a claim.

Call: Claims | Hutcheon Law

Whatever the circumstances of your case, you may be able to claim for cancer delays, or missed cancer diagnosis compensation if you believe medical negligence resulted in your late diagnosis of cancer and its subsequent effects on your health.

A late diagnosis of cancer is any situation where a person showing symptoms fails to have them identified and which could have been detected at the time of presentation.  There can be various reasons behind a delayed cancer diagnosis.

Some of the most common cancers thought to be misdiagnosed due to their symptoms being linked to another illness include:

  1. Breast cancer
  2. Lung cancer
  3. Pancreatic cancer
  4. Cervical Cancer
  5. Prostate Cancer
  6. Colorectal Cancer
  7. Stomach Cancer
  8. Leukaemia


Late Diagnosis of Breast Cancer compensation claims

The most common case involves a small, painless mass that is initially discovered by the patient. If the lesion does not resolve within one menstrual period, a GP must then rule out any possibility of cancer. This includes utilisation of diagnostic tests including mammography, needle biopsy or reference to a surgeon for surgical exploration.

In many cases, the examining doctor will send the patient home as he or she does not consider there is anything to worry about.  No referral being necessary. Several months or years later, cancer is finally diagnosed. By this time, it has invaded lymph nodes or possibly spread to other organs (it has become ‘metastatic’).

There are many ways to test yourself at home for breast cancer in order to combat the symptoms early if you have them; this way you can prevent further growth and a potential late diagnosis. There are 5 steps to testing yourself for Breast Cancer at home

See: Breast Self-Exam: How to Check for Lumps and Other Breast Changes (


Late Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer compensation claims

In addition to Breast Cancer being diagnosed late; Prostate Cancer has shown to have a worrying trend whereby 37% of cancer cases were at stages three and four.

The stages of prostate cancer can severely affect the survival rate. For Example; Prostate cancer is often grouped into four stages:

  • Stages 1 & 2: Tumour has not spread beyond the prostate. Often called localized or the ‘early stage’.
  • Stage 3: Cancer has spread beyond just the prostate; yet only to surrounding tissues; often called ‘locally advanced prostate cancer.
  • Stage 4: Cancer has spread outside the prostate to other parts of the body. E.g. lungs, bones, liver. This is often called ‘advanced prostate cancer’.

See:  Advanced Prostate Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment - Urology Care Foundation (

For the first time in the UK, statistics shown from February indicate deaths from Prostate Cancer have exceeded those of Breast Cancer. The Chief Executive of Orchid, Rebecca Porta has suggested that due to the cancer delays and failure to diagnose the cancer at an early enough stage to treat successfully, prostate Cancer will be the most prevalent cancer in the UK within the next 12 years.

In comparison to America, 25% of Prostate Cancer cases in the UK are diagnosed at an advanced stage, compared to 8% in the UK. These statistics are a sobering thought considering that 26% of all new cases of cancer in men is Prostate Cancer – it is the most common cancer in men and the second most common cause of cancer deaths within men in the UK.

See: Prostate cancer: Four in 10 cases diagnosed late, charity says - BBC News

Prostate cancer diagnosis and symptoms:

  • prostate cancer is diagnosed by using the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, biopsies and physical examinations,
  • there can be few symptoms of prostate cancer in the early stages, and because of its location most symptoms are linked to urination,
  • needing to urinate more often, especially at night,
  • needing to run to the toilet,
  • difficulty in starting to urinate,
  • weak urine flow or taking a long time while urinating,
  • feeling your bladder has not emptied fully,
  • men with prostate cancer can also live for decades without symptoms or needing treatment, because the disease often progresses very slowly.

See: Prostate cancer - Symptoms - NHS (

If your GP has failed to refer you or examine you as a result of prostate cancer symptoms or the hospital has failed in their professional duty to spot the signs of prostate cancer in time you may have a claim for compensation for late prostrate diagnosis.


Late Diagnosis of Lung Cancer compensation

Lung cancer is when abnormal cells divide in an uncontrolled way to form a tumour in the lung. The main symptoms are a cough, breathlessness and weight loss. The treatment you need depends on what type you have as well as your general health. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy

A  BBC News report found that “Doctors in Britain are 'missing opportunities' to spot lung cancer at an early stage”. The study found around a third of people with the condition die within 90 days of their initial diagnosis.

They found people were more likely to die early if they were male, over the age of 80, currently smoking, were socioeconomically deprived, or lived in rural areas. They were also less likely to have had a chest X-ray requested by their GP in the four months before diagnosis.

It has been found that people who presented to their GP with symptoms of lung cancer were initially sent away and diagnosis of the disease was not made until up to a year later when the symptoms had not eased. These included a persistent cough, persistent breathlessness, an ache or pain when breathing or coughing.

Despite the symptoms of lung cancer being more apparent compared to other types of cancer, there’s still mass negligence in terms of misdiagnosis and late diagnosis which can be fatal.

See: GPs in UK 'missing opportunities' to spot lung cancer - BBC News

Also see: Lung cancer symptoms | Cancer Research UK


Late Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer Compensation Claims

Pancreatic cancer is one of the cancers with the poorest prognosis, with a 5-year survival rate of just 5%.  Diagnosis most often occurs at an advanced stage of the disease, when the tumour can no longer be operated on, as a result of the late clinical symptoms of the disease.

Nine in ten 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.

Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer can be: Jaundice, Abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss and pain in the middle of the back.

See:  Pancreatic cancer | Cancer Research UK

If you believe that your GP or treating hospital has failed to diagnose pancreatic cancer in time please contact us make a possible claim for compensation.

See:  Contact Us | Hutcheon Law


Late Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer Compensation Claims

The NHS in England offers routine cervical screening to females aged 25–64 years. Screening starts at the age of 25 years.

Cervical cancer generally presents in the early stages as inter-menstrual bleeding, post-coital bleeding or painful intercourse. Symptoms of more advanced cervical cancer may include weight loss, back pain or referred pain in the legs.

If cervical cancer is diagnosed early the chance of being cured is normally good.  Treatment for cervical cancer depends on the staging.  Early cervical cancer can be treated by cone biopsy or surgical excision. Mid stage cervical cancer is usually treated with hysterectomy, sometimes with pelvic radiotherapy and late stage cervical cancer is treated with chemotherapy.

Mistakes in diagnosing cervical cancer can therefore be very serious. To succeed in a medical negligence claim you need to prove that the delay affected the outcome. Usually this means you need to prove that during the delay the cancer progressed to a more advanced stage. Therefore, delays of a few months may not be enough. However if cancer is left, it is likely to grow and can spread to other parts of the body. Medical negligence claims may be brought for:

  • Failure to carry out an adequate examination or take an accurate history.
  • Failure to refer a patient to a gynaecological oncologist for further investigation.
  • Mistakes in interpreting smear tests.
  • Mistaken diagnosis of cervical cancer often resulting in unnecessary surgery.

See: Cervical cancer | Cancer Research UK


Other Types Of Cancer Negligence Claims:

Less common examples of medical negligence within cancer but just as important are Bowel Cancer and Skin Cancer.

Due to Skin Cancer usually being somewhat easier to spot in comparison to other types of cancer, medical professionals are more likely to diagnose the cancer early and begin treatment to prevent death and worsening of the patient’s condition. However, in rare types of skin cancer- Melanoma for example. Medical Negligence can still occur in the form of a late diagnosis and failures to diagnose which has led to deaths in many cases in the UK.

See: Skin Cancer Screening | Mole Check | Check4Cancer

However, Bowel Cancer is different due to being harder to spot the initial symptoms of the cancer, these symptoms include:

  • A change in your normal bowel motion
  • Pain/ Discomfort in abdomen
  • Bleeding in stool
  • Unexplained weight loss

The symptoms are not initially concerning and would not usually provoke a reaction to get tested for Bowel Cancer, which is why if you have experienced or are experiencing any of the above symptoms to get tested immediately. These symptoms can also be easily missed and waved off by medical professionals; which could lead to delayed screenings for Bowel Cancer; potentially leading to a late diagnosis. If you have experienced a late Bowel Cancer diagnosis by a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation; talk to us following the link below.

See: Bowel cancer - Diagnosis - NHS (

Also See:  Contact Us | Hutcheon Law

Can you make a Delayed Diagnosis Claim?

Delayed Diagnosis/ Delayed Screening claims cover the whole range of professional healthcare practices and are not just limited to hospital or medical treatment. For example, claims can be made in respect of treatment provided by doctors, nurses, opticians, dentists most commonly where there was an incorrect or missed diagnosis of cancer because of, for example, radiology, filing or GP error, resulting in a delayed diagnosis.

NHS guidelines currently recommend certain cancer pathways from initial consultation to treatment, including a specified time frame for referral, if this was not adhered to 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

Read:  - The 5 Most Common Misdiagnosed Cancer Claims - Hutcheon Law

- Prostate Cancer Compensation

- Breast Cancer Compensation

- Bowel Cancer Compensation

- Pancreatic Cancer Compensation

- Stomach Cancer Compensation

- Colorectal Cancer Compensation

- Leukaemia Compensation

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