Invasive breast cancer
One of the most common breast cancer types is Invasive breast cancer. Approximately 50,000 new cases are reported each year in the UK. Many women find that their breast cancer treatment is rapid and effective but some can experience delays in obtaining the necessary referral or complications in their treatment.
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ
Another common type of cancer is called Ductal carcinoma in situ (also known as DCIS).This is a type of cancer that is found in the milk duct in the breast. DCIS is the earliest type of breast cancer. Unlike invasive breast cancer, a diagnosis of DCIS means that the cancer is contained in the milk duct and has not spread.
Thankfully, due to advances in science and improved awareness, the survival rate is now very high. Almost 80% of breast cancer patients will have a very good outcome from their treatment.
Since the introduction of the breast cancer screening programme, the chances of an early diagnosis have increased dramatically. Public awareness campaigns and charity education programmes have also made many more women aware of this condition and how to spot the early signs.
Unfortunately despite all this good work it is still the case that 1 in 10 breast cancer diagnoses occur later than is optimal for the patient.
The vast majority of General Practitioners make appropriate and prompt referrals. On other occasions there can be a delay in making the right referral and this can lead to a worse outcome for the patient.
Cancers are diagnosed in stages – from stage 1 to 4 with stage 4 being the most advanced. A delay in treatment may mean that the breast cancer has developed from stage 1 to a stage 2, 3 or 4 disease before it is treated.
On occasions a GP may not make the referral that the patient requires and this can lead to a delay of many months or even years.
Once referred to hospital a patient might need to undergo the so called Triple Test
The Triple Test is very good at diagnosing breast cancer.
Treatment is provided according to the type and stage of breast cancer.
The patient may require any of the following:
Cases in which Hodge Jones Allen have acted
Delayed Or Misdiagnosed Breast Cancer – Negligent hospital treatment
Sometimes error can occur with hospital treatment. This might be due to:
Delayed Or Misdiagnosed Breast Cancer – Negligent GP treatment
The diagnosis of this condition can be delayed due to many factors. Errors often occur because of delayed referrals by GPs or perhaps due to errors in the hospital investigations.
Case study – delayed diagnosis due to radiologist’s error
In one case we were able to show that a delay of 18 months had led to a patient’s outcome becoming much worse. The patient’s DCIS ( Ductal Carcinoma in Situ) should have been identified on a mammogram but the radiologist failed to see the obvious signs on the scan.
As a result of the delay the patient required major surgery rather than a lumpectomy. When surgery was performed the patient had a difficult recovery period and developed an infection.
We were able to prove, with expert evidence, that the patient would have avoided the major surgery if she had been diagnosed earlier.
As a result of the infection she suffered from severe scarring which in turn led to chronic regional pain syndrome. The patient was awarded £150,000 in an out of court settlement.
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