It has been reported recently that 6,000 patients a year would have a better chance of survival if their cancers had been diagnosed at an earlier stage. Late diagnosis of cancer is worryingly quite a widespread phenomenon in the UK. When cancer is diagnosed late, and has spread to stages three or four, it is often difficult to treat and, depending on the type of cancer in question, survival rates can be low.
Delays in diagnosing cancer can be the result of GPs failing to take patients’ symptoms seriously and failing to refer patients to hospital for tests. Hospitals can also be at fault for failing to follow up tests or giving patients the incorrect test results. Ovarian cancer is known as the UK’s hidden cancer. GPs are often reluctant to refer women, who are reporting symptoms, on to have further tests at hospital. The Medical Defence Union has found that patients suffering from ovarian cancer will regularly have to endure a delay of up to several months before a GP will refer them or before a hospital will make the correct diagnosis.
Although it is true that ovarian cancer can be hard to diagnosis, due to the cancer’s symptoms being similar to other conditions and illnesses, GPs and hospitals should still take each patient’s symptoms seriously. Approximately 6,500 women develop ovarian cancer each year in the UK and more than 4,000 women die as a result of this. Early diagnosis is of paramount importance to an ovarian cancer patient and it is therefore unacceptable that late diagnosis of this type of cancer is common. The consequences of a finding of ovarian cancer can be so serious and severe that doctors should always refer patients for further testing, assessment or a second opinion when a patient displays any symptoms.
Bolt Burdon Kemp are medical negligence experts who can claim compensation for late cancer diagnosis. Bolt Burdon Kemp solicitors have experience claiming compensation in cases involving a wide range of different cancers, including cervical, lung and ovarian, and they can operate on a no win no fee basis. Patients will be able to claim compensation for the pain and suffering they have endured and maybe also the costs of rehabilitation and treatment and the costs from having to have time off from work.