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Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2022

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an international campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer and highlight the importance of checking breasts for early signs of the disease.

The importance of early detection

In the UK, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every ten minutes. However, if the cancer is detected at an early stage, it can be treated before it spreads to other parts of the body, increasing the chances of survival. There is a breast cancer screening programme in the UK, but if you have any concerns it is really important to get them checked out.

The NHS advises that you should see your GP if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • a new lump or area of thickened breast tissue in either breast that was not there before
  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • discharge or fluid from either of your nipples
  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  • a change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness
  • a rash (like eczema), crusting, scaly or itchy skin or redness on or around your nipple
  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Although women are mainly affected, men can develop breast cancer and should also be aware of these symptoms.

Delayed detection

Unfortunately, 1 in 10 breast cancer diagnoses occur later than is optimal for the patient. There can be several reasons for delays in diagnosis, for example:

  • Lack of awareness of the signs and symptoms
  • Difficulty getting a convenient appointment at the GP
  • Concern about reporting concerns to the GP because of a worry about what might be found
  • Delays in being referred for tests, or in getting an appointment

In some cases, these delays in diagnosis and treatment can affect life expectancy. If you do spot something unusual speak to your GP: diagnosing cancer early can make a big difference.

Medical Negligence Case Settlement: Negligent Delay To Diagnose Breast Cancer

This case involved a delay of 11 months to diagnose breast cancer. The Claimant visited her GP with a complaint of pain in her right breast. Her GP organised a referral to the Defendant breast clinic however, the Defendant did not offer an appointment. It was only the following year, when the Claimant returned to her GP with concerns of pain in the now growing lump, that the referral was actioned by the Defendant.

In addition, following investigation at the Defendant’s clinic, the Claimant was advised that she would need to undergo a mastectomy, a major and invasive procedure. Before she underwent surgery, a MRI scan revealed an excellent response to her chemotherapy treatment.

Ultimately, the Claimant’s case was that there was a delay to diagnose her breast cancer for 11 months and she could have avoided undergoing a mastectomy and reconstruction in light of her complete response to chemotherapy treatment.

Our team obtained the necessary medical evidence and were able to settle the Claimant’s case for significantly more than the Defendant’s original offer to settle.

Delayed diagnosis of breast cancer may be clinical negligence. If you have concerns about late diagnosis of breast cancer we may be able to help. To speak to our highly experienced medical negligence solicitors please call 0808 159 9802 today or request a call back.