Claim compensation for bowel cancer misdiagnosis
If a doctor misdiagnosed bowel or colon cancer and your condition was made worse, you could make a bowel cancer misdiagnosis claim.
How Much Could You Claim?

Bowel Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims

Bowel cancer is a potentially aggressive and painful form of cancer if it is not managed adequately and treated promptly. If a doctor has failed to recognise its symptoms, diagnosed the disease as an alternative condition, provided a late diagnosis or failed to provide a diagnosis at all, they will be considered to have misdiagnosed bowel cancer.

Late diagnosis of bowel cancer can lead to a more severe treatment and a much poorer prognosis and recovery time. Depending upon the severity of a case, bowel cancer misdiagnosis may result in a previously treatable cancer being untreatable, having spread to other body parts, and causing further harm to the patient.

Solicitors are skilled in attaining the highest levels of compensation following the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer. They would be pleased to support you in making a medical negligence claim if your bowel cancer was not diagnosed properly.

If you would like a free case assessment, please call 0800 032 3660 today or use our online claim form to arrange a call back. An experienced legal adviser will let you know if you have a valid claim and answer any questions you may have.

What is bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer, also referred to as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the colon or rectum. It typically starts to develop from precancerous polyps, which are irregular growths in the lining of the large bowel and is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK. Over time, these polyps can become cancerous and may spread to other parts of the body if not detected and treated early.

The large bowel, also known as the large intestine, is part of the digestive system. It is a tube-like organ that forms the last part of the digestive tract. The large bowel is responsible for absorbing water and electrolytes from food. It also plays a crucial role in eliminating waste from the body.

Misdiagnosis of bowel cancer can have significant consequences for patients and may lead to a compensation claim.

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

Doctors can misdiagnose colon cancer and rectal cancer because early symptoms are hard to detect and can sometimes present themselves as similar to other digestion problems. Bowel cancer is occasionally misdiagnosed as less severe conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Therefore, it remains inadequately treated, allowing the cancer to develop, which has a significant impact on the prognosis for the patient.

Some of the most common symptoms that people have suffered from due to bowel cancer include:

  • Changes in bowel movements over more than three weeks, including constipation, diarrhoea and needing to empty the bowels regularly;
  • Blood in stools;
  • Blood from the rectum;
  • Pain in the abdomen, bloating or cramping;
  • Pain when passing a stool;
  • Unexplained loss of weight;
  • Anaemia from bleeding inside the bowel, which leads to fatigue, feeling generally unwell and breathlessness;
  • Anal or rectal pain;
  • Blood in the urine or passing urine frequently.

Later stages of bowel cancer can present symptoms such as those above at an elevated level, as well as feeling abnormally bloated and vomiting. At this stage, many patients return to their doctor to communicate that their condition is worsening. If the doctor still fails to perform the relevant tests or refer the patient for further examinations and bowel cancer is later diagnosed, the person is likely to be eligible to make a claim for bowel cancer misdiagnosis.

What causes bowel cancer?

Most bowel and colon cancers initially start in the bowel’s inner lining, where cells referred to as polyps begin to grow. Polyps are not always cancerous and can develop to be benign. Research has suggested that there are various factors which can lead to polyps becoming cancerous, and they include:

  • Poor diet or diets high in red meat are linked to a higher rate of bowel cancer diagnosis. People with diets low in unsaturated fats and high in fibre are the least likely to suffer from the condition.
  • Smokers are 25% more likely to develop bowel or colon cancer than non-smokers. Cigarette smoke contains numerous carcinogens that can be transported to the bowel and contribute to the development of cancer. Smoking also leads to DNA damage and promotes the growth of tumour cells.
  • Obese people have a significantly higher chance of developing bowel cancer than those with a healthy BMI.
  • Family history can also determine the likelihood of a person developing bowel or colon cancer, as this type of disease is hereditary.
  • Some digestive diseases have been linked to the development of bowel cancer. These include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Patients with these conditions should be monitored regularly to detect early signs of bowel cancer.

If your GP is aware of the above risk factors, they should organise a thorough investigation of symptoms linked to bowel cancer. If they have failed to do so and you suffer due to bowel cancer misdiagnosis, they are likely to be considered liable for compensation. You could start a bowel cancer claim against the relevant NHS trust or private medical practice involved.

Bowel cancer diagnosis and treatment

Your doctor will use a number of tests to diagnose your condition, including:

  • Blood tests can show if you have a low blood cell count and anaemia;
  • Various imaging tests, such as CT scans, MRI scans, and sometimes PET scans, may be used to visualise the colon and detect any abnormalities or tumours;
  • A colonoscopy is a critical diagnostic procedure. It involves using a flexible tube with a camera to examine the inside of the colon and rectum. During the colonoscopy, a biopsy may be taken for further examination;
  • If a suspicious growth or tumour is found during a colonoscopy, your doctor will collect a small tissue sample (biopsy) for laboratory analysis. This helps confirm whether cancer is present.

The treatment for bowel cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer and its location and may involve:

  • Surgery. The primary treatment for early-stage bowel cancer is surgery to remove the tumour and surrounding tissues. In some cases, the doctor may remove a segment of the colon or rectum. In more advanced cases, a complete colon removal may be necessary.
  • Chemotherapy. You may need chemotherapy to kill the tumour cells or prevent their growth. It can be administered before surgery, after surgery, or as the primary treatment for advanced cases.
  • Radiation therapy. In some cases, radiotherapy may be used to target and destroy cancer cells, often in combination with surgery or chemical therapy.
  • Targeted therapy. Targeted drugs specifically target tumour cells or block the signals encouraging their growth.
  • Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy helps the body’s immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. While not as commonly used in colorectal cancer as in some other types of cancer, it may be an option for some people.

The sooner treatment begins, the better the prognosis. Thus, it is essential that doctors recognise bowel cancer symptoms and refer patients for specialised care. A missed or delayed diagnosis can have devastating consequences and may entitle you to compensation.

Can I make a bowel cancer misdiagnosis claim?

To be eligible to claim compensation for bowel cancer misdiagnosis, your lawyer must be able to prove the following:

  • A duty of care. All medical staff must provide a reasonable standard of care to patients. They must act in their best interests and possess the skills and knowledge expected of a competent professional with the same level of training.
  • A breach of duty. Your medical negligence solicitor must prove that the standard of care given to you by your doctor fell below the expected standards as outlined by the General Medical Council. This can be your GP, hospital doctor, specialist, or other clinical staff.
  • Causation. You must prove that the negligent actions of the doctor who misdiagnosed your bowel cancer had an adverse outcome for you.
  • Damages. You need evidence of the pain, suffering, and financial losses incurred due to the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer.

To prove that the diagnosis was late, incorrect or below expected standards, an oncologist will map the stage that the cancer would have been at had the diagnosis been made promptly. Your solicitor will use this information to determine the likely prognosis of the cancer and the statistics for a cure. They will also show that the delay imposed a threat to your health and inflicted risk and suffering on you that could and should have been avoided.

How much compensation can I claim for misdiagnosed bowel cancer?

Early diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer can significantly improve the outcome for sufferers. Healthcare professionals are expected to recognise the common signs of colon cancer and give an early diagnosis whenever possible. A failure to do so could be considered bowel cancer negligence and may entitle you to make a claim.

The amount of compensation you could receive will depend upon the pain and suffering caused by the misdiagnosis of your bowel cancer (general damages) and the related financial expenses (special damages). Your claim could include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Reduced life expectancy
  • Impacts on your ability to participate in hobbies or social events
  • Care costs, even if provided by a loved one
  • Cost of private medical treatments
  • Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
  • Travel expenses for medical visits

The compensation amount that is awarded to you will depend upon the level of suffering and the implications of your bowel cancer misdiagnosis. The more significant the adverse impact on you, the larger the compensation award will be. For example, you could receive:

  • £1,000 to £200,000 for avoidable pain and suffering
  • £12,000 to £300,000 for the wrongful death of a loved one
  • £1,540 to £115,730 for psychological damage
  • Up to £172,860 for loss of bowel function and need for a colostomy bag

Your solicitors will have worked with many cases of medical misdiagnosis and late diagnosis for various types of cancer and other conditions. They will work hard to secure the maximum injury compensation possible for you.

Is there a time limit to make a bowel or colon cancer compensation claim?

You generally have three years to make a bowel cancer misdiagnosis claim under the Limitation Act 1980. For most personal injury claims, this time limit will begin on the date of injury. In the case of cancer misdiagnosis claims, the three years will start when you become aware of the negligence.

Some exceptions apply to this rule, such as:

  • If you were under 18 at the time, the three years will only start to run on your 18th birthday. Before that, a parent or legal guardian could claim for you at any point.
  • If the sufferer cannot handle a claim themselves, for example, due to a brain injury, the time limit is suspended, and a litigation friend could claim on their behalf at any time.
  • If you lost a loved one due to misdiagnosis of bowel cancer, you have three years to pursue compensation from the date of their death.

Starting a claim as soon as possible will usually make gathering all the necessary evidence to support your case easier.

Can I make a bowel cancer misdiagnosis claim on behalf of a loved one?

If someone you love suffered due to colon cancer misdiagnosis and cannot claim, you could seek compensation on their behalf. This could be the case if they are a child under 18 or an adult who lacks mental capacity due to a condition such as Alzheimer’s, dementia or a brain injury.

To represent them, you must apply to the court to be named as their litigation friend. The court will verify that you can conduct legal proceedings fairly and competently and have no conflict of interest with the claimant before appointing you.

Once you become a litigation friend, you must act in the best interest of the person you represent. You will have several other responsibilities, such as paying court fees, taking legal advice and making decisions about the case. Your duty will end once the claim concludes.

Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, you could also claim compensation if a loved one suffered a wrongful death from cancer misdiagnosis. If you classify as their dependent, you could claim:

  • The loss of income and other economic benefits expected from them
  • The loss of services they provided in the household
  • The financial losses and expenses they incurred due to the negligence before passing away
  • Funeral expenses such as wreaths and embalming of the body
  • A bereavement award of £15,120 for your grief and suffering

Can bowel cancer claims be made on a No Win No Fee basis?

If you are entitled to misdiagnosed bowel cancer compensation, your solicitor will represent you on a no win no fee* basis. That means you do not have to pay them anything upfront or if they lose your case. Your lawyer only gets a success fee of up to 25% of your settlement if your claim is successful.

If you lose, you will also be protected against legal fees and disbursements by the After the Event (ATE) insurance included in your agreement. The ATE covers all litigation costs, including the defendant’s expenses and solicitors. Thus, you will not lose a single penny if you make a no win no fee claim and it is unsuccessful.

If you would like to learn more about this service or start a claim today, please don’t hesitate to call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back. This is an opportunity for you to talk about your case with an experienced solicitor, who will be able to figure out if you have a valid claim and answer any questions you may have.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.