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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer types

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.

Treatment advances

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.

GP referral for breast cancer investigations

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.

Referral to hospital

Once referred to hospital a patient might need to undergo the so called Triple Test

  1. A doctor will take a history from the patient and perform a physical examination
  2. Imaging is taken – A mammogram and/or ultrasound will be performed
  3. A fine needle aspiration (FNA) may be required also.

The Triple Test is very good at diagnosing breast cancer.

Treatment of breast cancer

Treatment is provided according to the type and stage of breast cancer.

The patient may require any of the following:

  • Surgery – such as a lumpectomy or a mastectomy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Hormone treatment

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:

  • Ultrasound/ Mammogram negligence – failing to identify the signs of a cancer
  • Staging errors – if the cancer is incorrectly diagnosed then the treatment given may not be effective. For example, a lumpectomy only might be performed instead of a mastectomy. Or perhaps radiotherapy is not offered when the patient requires this to prevent a recurrence. Errors can occur with pathology results also.
  • Surgery – surgical errors can occur leading to life changing complications

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.

Breast Cancer Medical Negligence Claims with Hodge Jones Allen

Our highly experienced team of specialist clinical negligence lawyers are here to assist and to advise. They will advise you comprehensively about the merits of your claim, funding and ensure that you and your family get the best possible results.

The majority of our cases are funded by way of a conditional fee agreement, more commonly known as a no win no fee agreement. This means there is no financial risk to you.

Our Cancer Claims Solicitors are backed by four decades of experience. Our legal practice and team of Medical Negligence Solicitors have a strong track record of achieving the best possible results. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 250 6017 today.

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