Breast cancer generally presents as a lump in the breast. It should be diagnosed by a “triple test” of investigation:
- Clinical examination
- Biopsy (where a pathologist reviews a sample of cells under a microscope)
If the radiology or biopsy suggest malignancy, the woman should proceed to surgery within 2 weeks of diagnosis.
If breast cancer is diagnosed early the chance of being cured is normally good. Treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. 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 are unlikely to be enough. However if cancer is left, it is likely to grow and can spread to other parts of the body. Mistakes in diagnosing breast cancer can therefore be very serious.
Medical negligence claims may be brought for:
- Failure to carry out an adequate examination
- Failure to advise a patient to return if a suspicious lump changes or grows
- Mistakes by pathologists in reviewing the tissue samples
- Mistakes by radiologists in reviewing the mammogram
- Mistaken diagnosis of breast cancer where a lump is actually benign resulting in unnecessary surgery (This may result in cosmetic deformity, lymphoedema and anxiety)
Browse our recent breast cancer negligence cases.
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