Bowel Cancer misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis compensation claims

Cancer has an enormous impact, both in terms of the number of people affected by it and the individual impact it has on people with cancer and those close to them. More than 300,000 new cancers (excluding skin cancers) are diagnosed annually in the UK, across over 200 different cancer types.

Bowel cancer can start in the large bowel (colon) or the back passage (rectum). It is also divided into different types depending on the type of cell that the cancer started in. The treatment offered also depends on the type of cell that the cancer started in.

Adenocarcinomas start in the gland cells in the lining of the bowel wall. There are rare types of bowel cancer. These are Squamous cell tumours (the skin cells that make up the bowel lining), Carcinoid tumours, (a type of slow growing tumour called a neuroendocrine tumour), Sarcomas (cancers of the supporting cells of the body, such as bone or muscle, and Lymphomas (cancers of the lympthatic system).

There are two major types of delay

  • Patient delay is delay in seeking medical attention after self-discovering a potential cancer symptom.
  • System delay is delay within the health care system in getting appointments, scheduling diagnostics tests, receiving a definitive diagnosis, and initiating therapy.

Your GP should arrange for you to see a specialist within two weeks if you have symptoms that could be due to bowel cancer.

For further information on signs and symptoms see:

Diagnosis is confirmed by

  • Clinical examination
  • blood test – test for low levels of red blood cells (anaemia), test for function of liver and kidneys
  • flexible Sigmoidoscopy
  • colonoscopy
  • CT Colonoscopy (virtual colonoscopy)
  • Barium enema
  • biopsy.

Reasons for missed bowel cancer or delayed diagnosis

There are many reasons why this may occur

  • Failure to carry out adequate consultation to include physical examination and obtaining adequate history from the patient such as family history or note symptoms such as persistent blood in stools, unintentional weight loss
  • failure to advise a patient to report any observed changes
  • failure to offer bowel cancer screening when you meet criteria for either of the two types of bowel cancer screening to adults registered with a GP in England
  • failure to refer for diagnostic investigations
  • failure to refer for an urgent two week referral with suspected upper/lower GI cancer to a cancer specialist for opinion when symptoms indicate risk of bowel cancer such as palpable right sided abdominal mass palpable rectal mass, unexplained iron deficiency, persistent rectal bleeding, change in bowel habit (looser stools and/or increased frequency).
  • incorrect diagnosis – misinterpretation of radiology images
  • inadequate biopsy
  • surgical excision of tumour without pathological examination
  • misreporting of histopathology slides
  • failure to read report from investigations carried out.

A delayed diagnosis causes:

  • Increase in size of cancer mass
  • spread of cancer can affect the chance of cure
  • more complicated treatment
  • poorer prognosis
  • fatality

In addition to missed diagnosis or delayed diagnosis, our team specialise in negligence claims where bowel cancer treatment plans have been negligently provided.

Contact us

To succeed in a claim for a delay in diagnosis we must show that the delay has affected your outcome.

If you would like to discuss making a claim for compensation as a result of a delayed cancer diagnosis, misdiagnosis or a failure to provide the recommended standard of cancer care please call one our Clinical and Medical Negligence lawyers on Freephone 0808 164 0808 for a FREE, no-obligation chat, or complete the request a call back form and we will call you.

If the matter is particularly sensitive and immediate assistance is required then we can arrange for one of our Clinical and Medical Negligence lawyers to meet you at the hospital or at home.