Whilst no one wants to hear that they have cancer, a speedy diagnosis is vital to give you the best chance of getting the treatment that you need to sort things out. A delayed cancer diagnosis can therefore be devastating, affecting you physically, emotionally, and financially.
The physical consequences of a delayed diagnosis are the most obvious. A delay in finding your cancer can delay your treatment which can mean that your cancer progresses, perhaps moving from where it starts to other parts of your body, becoming harder to treat and potentially involving more aggressive therapies.
Unfortunately, in some cases because cancer pathway referrals have not been made when they should have been, or appointments have been cancelled, or you are misdiagnosed with a less serious condition, the chances of the treatment successfully sorting out the cancer can be reduced, which can reduce your life expectancy.
| The emotional impact of a delayed cancer diagnosis
Being told that if your cancer had been picked up earlier the doctors could have done more for you, will inevitably affect you psychologically, causing significant emotional distress for you and for all those who support you.
The emotional impact of what has happened will also be affected by any increased financial pressures that you have to deal with. Increased medical expenses for more extensive treatment, the costs of any care that you need , the extra time off work , and any extra costs including higher household bills, should not be ignored .
Whilst a delayed diagnosis might not affect the course of your disease, if it does, then you should not hesitate to get help from the many charitable organisations who help you access the support that’s out there to help you. They can often open doors and find solutions for physical , financial and emotional wellbeing issues that your doctors can’t help with. Macmillan Cancer Support have a support helpline, which is open from 8am to 8pm (0808 8080 000). Their website and the website of other similar support groups contain a lot of information that can help to get things sorted.
| Potential medical negligence
If the delays in getting your diagnosis happened because you were let down by the doctors who you went to for help, it may be possible to bring a medical negligence claim. Then, if this is something you want to explore, we would be happy to talk you through what needs to be proved, without committing you to making a decision there and then.
If it is clear, that the care that you received wasn’t up to the expected standards, we then need to look at what would have happened your diagnosis had been made earlier, considering whether the outcome would have been different for you, and therefore, whether you have suffered avoidable harm.
Whilst money can never make up for a misdiagnosis, or a delay in getting you the right diagnosis and treatment, compensation can help financially, which in turn will hopefully reduce the physical and emotional, as well as the financial impacts of the original delays.
Please feel free to call us on 0800 988 7756 for a free initial discussion to chat through whether we can help. And if we can, what the next steps are.