Claim compensation for misdiagnosed breast cancer
If you've suffered delayed or misdiagnosed breast cancer due to medical negligence, you could be entitled to make a breast cancer misdiagnosis claim
How Much Could You Claim?

Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims

A diagnosis of cancer is one of the most devastating and impactful occurrences in any person’s life. This suffering can only worsen when a misdiagnosis or late diagnosis occurs. Medical errors can mean that breast cancer diagnoses are made late or not made at all, which can enable cancer to progress with potentially fatal results.

If you have suffered from a breast cancer misdiagnosis, a knowledgeable and experienced solicitor would be pleased to assist you in attaining the compensation that you rightfully deserve. The personal injury solicitors we work with are recognised for their professional and empathetic approach to completing cases of this delicate nature. They offer a top-quality service and have an excellent reputation for securing the highest settlement awards possible.

To find out if you have a valid breast cancer misdiagnosis claim, call 0800 032 3660 today to arrange a free case assessment or request a call back. This call is a chance to talk about the specific details of your case with a specialist medical negligence solicitor. They’ll be able to figure out if you’re entitled to claim compensation free of charge and without any pressure or obligation to proceed further.

If you have a valid case and would like to proceed, your solicitor will be happy to work for you on a no win no fee* basis. This service removes any financial risk from the claims process. You will not pay a penny if they cannot win your case.

Am I entitled to make a breast cancer misdiagnosis claim?

The General Medical Council (GMC) regulates the practice of medicine in all UK hospitals and GP surgeries. The GMC sets out the acceptable standards and levels of care and treatment.

If you believe your doctor has not met the acceptable standards of care towards you, you may be entitled to make a medical negligence claim. With the support of a review from an oncologist, your solicitor will be able to prove the following:

  • A duty of care. The doctor or hospital that treated you had a duty to act with reasonable skill and knowledge to detect your breast cancer.
  • A breach of duty. The medical expert will help show that your doctor provided a wrong or late diagnosis. They will prove your doctor should have diagnosed your cancer sooner, requested tests and investigations more readily, or did not provide you with appropriate assessment, treatment, or care.
  • Causation. To have a valid claim for medical negligence, you must also show that the breach of duty has had a negative impact on your recovery or symptoms. The oncologist can help to map when cancer should have been diagnosed and the development of the disease from then to your actual diagnosis. If the doctor’s failings have had a detrimental effect on you, you should be entitled to claim compensation.
  • Damages. Damages include all the losses you suffered due to the breast cancer misdiagnosis. These can be physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, a reduced life expectancy and financial expenses.

Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of breast cancer can lead to the spread of the disease to other body parts and can cause avoidable suffering and harm to the patient. Medical negligence solicitors are experienced and skilled in proving liability and attaining the highest levels of compensation available to you. To find out if your case has merit, call 0800 032 3660 today for a free consultation or click here to arrange a call back.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, with more than 150 new cases diagnosed each day. Although more prominent in women (around 55,000 cases diagnosed each year), it can also affect men (around 400 cases per year). Women most at risk of developing breast cancer are those aged 65 and over, representing almost 50% of patients with the condition.

Cancer occurs when cells in the body develop abnormally and grow uncontrollably. Early diagnosis can allow for surgery to remove the tumour, and survival is much more likely. If left untreated, the malignant cells can spread to nearby tissues or other body parts, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, liver or bones.

Breast cancer can be broadly classified into two main types: non-invasive and invasive. The non-invasive type, also known as ductal carcinoma, remains within the milk ducts or lobules of the breast and does not spread into the surrounding breast tissue.

Invasive cancer is also known as invasive ductal carcinoma. In this form of the disease, the cancerous cells spread beyond the ducts into the nearby breast tissue. This form of cancer is often more aggressive and has the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Again, swift diagnosis is essential for the best prognosis.

If you or a loved one suffered because of a breast cancer misdiagnosis, you might be eligible to make a medical negligence claim. You can get compensation for the unnecessary pain and suffering you endured, as well as any related financial losses.

What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?

There are several symptoms which are closely associated with breast cancer. Some of the most common include:

  • Lumps in the breast
  • A thickening in the breast or underarm area
  • Changes in the shape, size or appearance of the breast
  • Changes in the shape or colour of nipples
  • Bleeding or discharge from the nipple
  • Lumps or swellings in the armpit
  • Dimples on the skin of the breast
  • Rashes on the breast or nipple
  • Inverted nipples
  • Pains in the breast, nipples or armpit

Not all changes or lumps in breasts are cancerous. However, when presented with these symptoms, doctors must carry out thorough examinations to hopefully rule out cancer.

They must follow the General Medical Council’s regulations, which detail that investigations, referrals, and tests should be carried out swiftly and thoroughly. If your doctor does not follow these regulations, the chances of late diagnosis or misdiagnosis increase, and the prognosis can be detrimentally affected.

If you have been the victim of a breast cancer misdiagnosis, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

What causes breast cancer?

Although there is no single cause of breast cancer, there are several risk factors that are closely related to the development of the disease. Some of the most common risk factors include:

  • Age. Women over the age of 50 are more susceptible to the risk of breast cancer, especially those who have gone through menopause.
  • Family history. Those who have a family history of breast cancer have an increased risk of developing the disease themselves. Some particular genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, increase the threat, and these genes can be passed down from parent to child.
  • Oestrogen exposure. Research suggests that oestrogen can enhance the growth of breast cancer cells, so those who have been overexposed to the hormone have an increased risk of developing the condition. Early menopause and starting periods early are common causes of extra oestrogen exposure, and your doctor should be more vigilant in assessing you for signs of cancer.
  • Previous diagnosis of breast cancer. Those who have already had breast cancer are at an increased risk of developing the disease again. Doctors of patients who have had the condition in the past should be more vigilant in assessing patients for warning signs and early symptoms of the redevelopment of breast cancer.
  • Lifestyle factors. Obesity, lack of physical activity, alcohol consumption, and smoking can contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Dense breast tissue. Women with dense breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to those with less dense tissue.

If your doctor has failed to consider your risk factors and conduct all necessary tests to diagnose breast cancer, you may be able to make a breast cancer misdiagnosis claim.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

A breast cancer diagnosis often begins with a breast examination. Your GP will perform a physical exam of the breasts to check for any lumps, changes in the skin or nipple, or other abnormalities. If they find anything that is not typical, your healthcare provider should order further tests to confirm whether there is cancer or not, such as:

  • Mammogram. A mammogram is a detailed X-ray of the breast tissue. The breast is compressed between two plates to obtain images from different angles during the procedure. It can show abnormal tissue that could be cancer.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). MRI scans show detailed images of the breast tissue. They can give additional information about the size, location, and features of breast tumours.
  • Ultrasound. This technique uses sound waves to create images of the breast tissue. These are called sonograms and can distinguish between solid masses (such as tumours) and fluid-filled cysts. They are also used for guidance during breast biopsies.
  • Biopsy. If abnormal tissue is detected on imaging tests, your doctor will collect a sample from it with a needle. A pathologist will examine the tissue under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present.

If cancer is diagnosed, your doctor will conduct further tests to determine the extent of it. This helps to plan the best treatment and understand the outlook. There are four stages of breast cancer. Stage 1 indicates that the tumour is small and contained within the breast tissue. Stage 4 means that it has spread to other body parts, such as the lungs or bones, and is unlikely to be cured.

Breast cancer treatment and outcome

As seen above, there are four types of breast cancer, staged from 1 to 4. The type of cancer you have will determine what treatment you will receive and your prognosis. Treatment typically involves a combination of the following therapies tailored to each patient’s specific needs:

  • Surgery. Surgery is often the first treatment for breast cancer. It may involve either a lumpectomy (removal of the cancerous tumour from the breast) or a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast). Your doctor may also remove the nearby lymph node to determine if the cancer has spread.
  • Radiation therapy. This therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours. It is often used after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells in the breast or nearby lymph nodes.
  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. It may be used before surgery, after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells, or as the primary treatment for advanced or metastatic breast cancer.
  • Hormone therapy. Hormone therapy is used to treat breast cancers that rely on hormones like oestrogen or progesterone to grow. It works by blocking the effects of these hormones or reducing their production in the body.
  • Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses drugs that specifically target cancer cells while sparing normal cells. They may be used to reduce tumours before surgery and lower the chance of the cancer coming back.
  • Immunotherapy. This therapy uses drugs that boost the body’s immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. They are typically used for advanced or metastatic breast cancer that has not responded to other treatments.

The outlook for breast cancer patients depends on various factors. These include the stage of the cancer at diagnosis, the type of breast cancer, their age and overall health, and how well they respond to treatment.

When breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, before it has spread beyond the breast or nearby lymph nodes, the prognosis is generally favourable. Almost 100% of women with stage 1 cancer will survive for five years or more after diagnosis.

If the cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes or organs, the prognosis is less favourable. More than 70% of women with stage 3 cancer will survive for five years or more after diagnosis, but only 25% of stage 4 patients will live this long.

The consequences of breast cancer misdiagnosis

According to Cancer Research UK, almost all women will survive cancer for more than five years if it is diagnosed at stage 1. Unfortunately, the survival rate decreases with the cancer’s advancement and drops to 25% of women diagnosed at stage 4, when the disease can no longer be cured. Other than the drastic reduction in life expectancy, you could make a breast cancer misdiagnosis claim if the delay in diagnosis meant that:

  • Your cancer progressed to a more advanced stage
  • You needed more invasive treatment as a result
  • You needed a mastectomy rather than a lumpectomy
  • Your cancer may have spread to other parts of the body
  • Your symptoms worsened
  • Your breast cancer became untreatable
  • It had a more severe emotional and psychological impact on you and your loved ones
  • It had a more significant impact on your well-being and overall quality of life
  • You had increased medical expenses and other financial losses as a result

Overall, delayed breast cancer diagnosis can have far-reaching implications for patients. If you suffered avoidable harm due to a doctor’s negligence, an experienced solicitor can help you make a breast cancer compensation claim. You can recover damages for the avoidable pain and emotional distress you suffered and any related financial losses.

What types of medical negligence could lead to a breast cancer claim?

All healthcare professionals have a duty of care towards patients. They must act with reasonable skill and knowledge and take the following steps to diagnose breast cancer as quickly as possible:

  • Recommend and provide appropriate screening tests based on age, family history and other risk factors;
  • Conduct a thorough evaluation when patients present with symptoms of breast cancer;
  • Promptly refer the patient to specialists for further assessment and diagnosis;
  • Accurately diagnose breast cancer based on the results of imaging studies and diagnostic tests;
  • Provide patients with clear and understandable information about their diagnosis, prognosis, and recommended treatment plan.

Several types of breast cancer misdiagnosis or negligence could lead to a compensation claim, including:

  • You presented symptoms suspicious of breast cancer to your GP, and they failed to refer you to a specialist;
  • You were wrongly diagnosed with another condition, such as blocked milk ducts, mastitis or fibrocystic breast disease;
  • Your doctor failed to examine you correctly or advise you to return if a lump changes size or shape;
  • Your doctor did not follow up on an abnormal mammography, MRI scan or another test result;
  • Errors in interpreting test results, such as misinterpreting biopsy results or overlooking signs of cancer in imaging studies;
  • Failure to perform a biopsy when imaging studies have shown abnormal breast tissue;
  • Mistakes made during surgery to remove breast cancer tissues, such as not removing the entire tumour, infections or other injuries;
  • Failure to carry out surgical breast reconstruction to the appropriate standards;
  • You were wrongly diagnosed with cancer, which led to unnecessary treatments, pain and suffering;
  • Prescribing the wrong medication or treatment plan for your condition;
  • Failure to communicate clearly with the patient can also cause delays in diagnosis and treatment and can lead to a breast cancer negligence claim.

Can I make a misdiagnosed breast cancer claim against the NHS?

The National Health Service (NHS) is one of the largest healthcare systems in the world. It provides a wide range of medical services that are accessible to all, regardless of factors such as age or income.

Patient safety is a top priority within the NHS, and the medical staff typically offers high-quality care. However, mistakes sometimes occur, and doctors may fail to recognise the signs of breast cancer and promptly diagnose the condition. In such cases, patients may be able to claim compensation.

If your condition worsened or you suffered avoidable harm due to misdiagnosis of breast cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. All claims against the NHS are handled by their insurer, NHS Resolution. They aim to resolve issues fairly and efficiently, ensuring that victims receive the support they need and that healthcare providers learn from mistakes to improve patient safety.

NHS Resolution is funded by the yearly premiums paid by each NHS Trust. If you make a successful breast cancer misdiagnosis claim, your compensation award will come from the NHS resolution pot and will not affect the NHS budget. Thus, you can rest assured that your claim will not harm the funds allocated for patient care and treatment.

How much compensation could I claim for a misdiagnosis of breast cancer?

Cancer misdiagnosis compensation, as with all personal injury claims, is decided on a case-by-case basis. The amount awarded can be broken down into two distinct parts:

General damages

This amount reflects the physical and emotional harm caused by the negligence you have faced. Simply put, the more significant and damaging the injury or illness, the higher the compensation should be. Examples of general damages for misdiagnosed breast cancer include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish and emotional trauma
  • Reduced quality of life and life expectancy
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Any effects on your ability to engage in activities
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Special damages

This is an award of compensation based on any financial losses that can be attributed to your misdiagnosis of breast cancer. These can include:

  • Lost earnings from being unable to work
  • Loss of eating capacity if you are unable to return to work
  • The cost of any medications or treatments required
  • Transport costs going back and forth from medical appointments
  • The cost of care and assistance, even if provided by loved ones
  • The cost of reconstructive surgery
  • Expenses for psychological support to help with anxiety and depression

If you would like to find out if you have a valid breast cancer claim, call 0800 032 3660 today for a free initial consultation. This is a free, confidential, and pressure-free chat with an experienced solicitor who can assess the details of your particular case. In addition to finding out if you have a valid claim, it is also a chance to ask any questions that you might have and receive an estimate of the compensation that you could be entitled to.

What is the time limit to claim for breast cancer misdiagnosis?

The time limit to make a compensation claim for breast cancer misdiagnosis or negligent treatment is three years. Under the Limitation Act 1980, the three years begin on the date you became aware of the negligence. After this period, your case will be statute-barred and no longer valid. There are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • If the claimant cannot handle a claim, the time limit is suspended, and a litigation friend could start a claim on their behalf at any time. This could be due to complications from the misdiagnosis of breast cancer or a pre-existing condition like Alzheimer’s, autism or mental health disease.
  • If you lost a loved one due to a late diagnosis of breast cancer, you could claim compensation within three years after their death.

Ideally, you should start your claim as soon as possible. If you need to pay for care costs or private medical treatments or struggle due to lost income, your solicitor may be able to secure interim payments on your behalf. Also, starting the claims process early will make it easier to secure evidence that supports your claim, such as:

  • Medical records detailing your diagnosis and treatment;
  • Pathology reports from biopsies or other diagnostic tests confirming the presence of cancer and its type;
  • Results of imaging studies such as mammograms, MRI scans, ultrasounds, or CT scans;
  • Any communication you had with your doctor about your concerns, symptoms and treatments;
  • Expert testimony from specialists who can evaluate the standard of care provided and identify any deviations or errors;
  • Statements from family members and others who saw how the cancer misdiagnosis has affected your health and daily life;
  • Your own detailed account of the events and the impact of the late diagnosis on your health and well-being;
  • Documentation of medical expenses, lost wages, or other financial losses incurred as a result of the misdiagnosis and subsequent treatment or complications.

Can I claim compensation if I lost a loved one due to misdiagnosed breast cancer?

If you lost a loved one prematurely because their breast cancer was diagnosed too late, you might be eligible for compensation. The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 states which dependents of victims of negligence may be entitled to make a claim. This includes:

  • Spouses and former spouses
  • Civil partners and former civil partners
  • Anyone living with them for at least two years as a spouse or civil partner
  • Children and other descendants, including anyone treated as a child
  • Parents and other ascendants, including anyone treated as a parent
  • Siblings, aunts and uncles

If you relied on your loved one and are classified as a dependent under the Act, you can make a claim for the following:

  • The lost income and other financial benefits expected from them, such as pensions, salaries, bonuses and other investments;
  • The services expected from your loved one, such as childcare, property maintenance and household chores;
  • Funeral expenses such as the headstone, wreaths and transporting the body to the grave;
  • The financial losses incurred by your loved one due to the misdiagnosis of breast cancer, such as private treatments and care costs;
  • A bereavement award of £15,120 as recognition of their wrongful death and your sorrow, grief and suffering.

Will I have to go to court to make a medical negligence claim?

The chances of you going to court are minimal, as more than 95% of all personal injury cases are resolved without a trial. According to an NHS Resolution report from 2020/21, out of the 15,674 cases of medical negligence they settled during this period, only 56 (0.3%) went to court.

Even if you move past court proceedings, you have nothing to worry about. Your solicitor will be there to support you every step of the way. Furthermore, claims for personal injuries are held in a civil courtroom without a jury, so you have nothing to worry about.

Generally, both parties prefer to settle their legal dispute without a trial. This saves them time and money, is less stressful, and offers them more control over the outcome. Some of the reasons for which a breast cancer claim might go to court include:

  • The defendant denies liability for your harm and suffering;
  • You cannot agree on a compensation award;
  • You want to apply to the court for interim payments;
  • The other side is slow to respond or unresponsive;
  • Your case is particularly complex or of high value.

Can I make a compensation claim using a No Win No Fee solicitor?

If you are eligible to make a breast cancer misdiagnosis claim, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee agreement. If they believe you have a fair chance of winning compensation, they will take on the risk of litigation and will not ask for any upfront legal fees.

With a no win no fee service, you only have to pay for legal representation if you win the claim. In this case, you will pay your solicitor a success fee from your compensation award. The value of this fee is agreed upon from the beginning, and it cannot be more than 25% of your settlement. If you lose, you do not owe them a penny.

Your solicitor will also take out After the Event (ATE) insurance on your behalf. This type of legal expenses insurance can be purchased after an incident has occurred to cover the cost of legal proceedings. If you lose the claim, the ATE insurance will protect you from the financial risks associated with litigation, such as:

  • Court and counsel fees
  • Medical reports
  • Expert witness fees
  • Barrister fees if the case goes to court
  • Travel expenses
  • Cost of printing and copying documents

ATE insurance can provide peace of mind by covering the expenses involved in making a breast cancer claim. You only pay the ATE premium if the claim is successful; otherwise, it will not cost you anything.

To find out if you are eligible to make a breast cancer misdiagnosis claim on a no win no fee basis, call 0800 032 3660 for a free case assessment. Alternatively, you can use our contact form to request a call back, with no obligation to proceed with a claim.

* 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.