Cancer of the tongue presents with an ulcer that fails to heal. Metastatic disease may present with enlargement of the lymph nodes. GPs should refer patients to an oral surgeon with a special interest in tongue cancer.
Diagnosis is confirmed by biopsy. Tumours are treated with radiotherapy and/or surgery. Side effects of treatment are significant. Swallowing and speech can be affected by surgery whilst radiotherapy interferes with the salivary glands causing tooth decay.
Tongue cancer misdiagnosis
Mistakes in diagnosing tongue 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 are unlikely to be enough. However if cancer is left, it is likely to grow and can spread to other parts of the body. Tongue cancer misdiagnosis claims may be brought for:
- Failure to carry out an adequate examination or take an accurate history
- Failure to refer a patient to an oral surgeon for further investigations
- Mistakes in interpreting investigations or staging
- Mistaken diagnosis of tongue cancer sometimes resulting in unnecessary surgery
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