Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. If diagnosed early enough, it can be treated before spreading to other parts of the body, significantly improving the chances of recovery.
October is breast cancer awareness month; raising awareness of the symptoms of breast cancer can enable early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Symptoms of breast cancer
The majority of breast cancer diagnoses are in women over the age of 50. However, it is possible for younger women, as well as men, to get breast cancer. The first symptom of breast cancer is usually a lump or thickened area of breast tissue. Other symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Changes in size, shape or appearance of either (or both) of your breasts
- Discharge from nipples, which may be streaked with blood
- Breast pain
- A lump or swelling in armpits
- Dimples on the skin of your breast
- A rash near the nipple region.
Delay in diagnosis
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your GP immediately. Your doctor should arrange for a mammogram or ultrasound scan, and if an abnormality is found, arrange for a biopsy. If these tests are not carried out early enough, the cancer can then spread to other parts of the body, which could mean that the cancer will not be curable.
Unfortunately, the Medical Accident Group team has seen numerous cases where clinicians have failed to respond appropriately when an individual comes to them presenting with these symptoms. This has led to a delay in diagnosis, ultimately resulting in a devastating outcome for the individual affected and their family.
Failure to provide appropriate treatment
Where a diagnosis of breast cancer is made early enough (i.e. before it spreads to other parts of the body), it can be treated by a number of methods, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Your doctor should discuss the best treatment plan for you.
At Medical Accident Group, we have also seen cases where clinicians have failed to provide appropriate treatment for their patient, again leading to poor outcomes for the patients concerned.
For example, in one of our recent cases, Brenda had specifically requested a mastectomy (surgical removal of one or both breasts) to keep the risk of the cancer returning as little as possible. Despite making this clear, her breast surgeon carried out what was known as a ‘cleavage-sparing mastectomy’ leaving substantial breast tissue behind, without any rationale provided.
Ally Taft, partner with Medical Accident Group, said: “It was disappointing to see that Brenda had been provided with poor treatment after her diagnosis, which would have been devastating enough in itself. It was rewarding to be able to hold the surgeon to account for his actions and secure damages for Brenda, which I hope will help ease her and her family’s suffering.”
We can help
If you, or someone you know, has suffered a poor outcome due to a delay in diagnosis or having your wishes being ignored by a surgeon without question, we can help. We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors who will guide you through the process of making a claim. Call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email us at [email protected]