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Skin Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims

A diagnosis of any type of cancer can have a huge impact on a patient’s life, with physical, health and financial implications. All medical practitioners have a legal duty to provide acceptable standards of care as laid out by the General Medical Council, and failure to abide by these regulations can lead to late diagnosis, misdiagnosis and errors in treatment.

If you have suffered from a skin cancer misdiagnosis, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation. Our solicitors have a wealth of experience in securing the highest settlement awards possible, and we would be pleased to support you in securing justice for the substandard and negligent treatment that you have suffered.

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is mostly associated with overexposure to harmful sun rays or radiation. Mutations in the skin’s cells can lead to lumps, sores and wounds that will not naturally heal. Skin cancer diagnosis will fall into one of two type. These are non-melanoma and melanoma. A definition of each is given below.

Non-Melanoma

Non-Melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer suffered by patients throughout the UK. This type of skin cancer can be either basal cell carcinoma (located in the basal cells of the epidermis) or squamous cell carcinoma (most often found in skins, organs and lips).

Malignant Melanoma

Malignant Melanoma is a more serious form of skin cancer because it can rapidly spread to other cells in the body if not diagnosed and treated promptly. The prognosis for a patient with malignant melanoma greatly depends on how early the diagnosis was made. Delays in providing a diagnosis and treatment can prove to be fatal in many cases.

Did you know? Malignant melanoma is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK, with over 14,500 new cases in 2013 according to Cancer Research UK.

In both instances, early diagnosis is crucial in order to secure the best treatment and survival possibilities. If a doctor fails to arrange necessary tests or investigations, wrongly diagnoses skin cancer as a different condition, is late in offering a diagnosis or does not diagnose cancer at all, it is likely that you will be in a strong position to make a claim for compensation.

What causes skin cancer?

Skin cancers occur when some of the cells in the skin start to develop in an abnormal way. There is no concrete answer as to a singular cause for skin cancer, but it is widely accepted that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light heightens the risk of developing the disease significantly. This means that over exposure to the sun and artificial sources are closely linked to creating higher risks.

Some people are also at a higher risk of developing skin cancer than others. A doctor should be aware of individual patient’s level of risk and act accordingly when diagnosing or determining the need for additional investigation. Some of the higher risk groups of people include:

  • Those with pale skin
  • Those who have red or blonde hair
  • People with a history of skin cancer in their family
  • People with many freckles and moles

When known risk factors are paired with symptoms of skin cancer, it is essential that the patient is referred to a specialist to confirm a diagnosis. Failure to comply with the accepted standards of practice as outlined by the General Medical Council can result in a doctor becoming liable for the additional suffering and harm caused to you.

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

It is advised that any changes to moles or developments of lumps on the skin are assessed by a medical practitioner quickly in order to determine whether there is the potential that they are signs of skin cancer. However, there are a host of other symptoms of the disease, each of which should be reviewed by a doctor quickly to secure the best prognosis. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Lumps or sores which do not heal within a few weeks
  • Moles increasing in size
  • Bleeding or crusty moles and lumps
  • Misshapen or heightened moles
  • Development of new moles

If left undiagnosed or untreated, symptoms can worsen, overall health can decline, and cancer can spread to other parts of the body. If you have been the victim of a skin cancer misdiagnosis, we would be pleased to assist you in securing the clinical negligence compensation that is rightfully owed to you.

When might I be eligible to make a claim?

To be eligible to make a claim for compensation, it must be demonstrated that your doctor failed in their legal duty of care to you by misdiagnosing cancer or providing a late diagnosis. Furthermore, the doctor’s error must have had a negative impact on you in order for you to pursue a claim for compensation.

Some of the most common cases that we deal with from victims of skin cancer misdiagnosis include:

  • The doctor fails to recognise symptoms and no diagnosis is made at all
  • The doctor fails to organise necessary tests and investigations resulting in delayed diagnosis
  • A doctor misinterprets test results or miscommunicates findings
  • Inappropriate or wrong treatment is planned
  • The doctor diagnoses skin cancer incorrectly, and the patient does not have the disease. This can cause significant emotional distress and impact on the confidence that a patient has in future treatment.
  • Failure to obtain necessary consent for treatment from the patient
  • Failure to communicate different treatment possibilities to a patient.

We would be pleased to support you in making a claim for compensation against those liable for your suffering through their substandard levels of care. We work with empathy and diligence to ensure that we secure the highest awards possible for those who have become victims of misdiagnosed or wrongly diagnosed skin cancer.

We offer a free initial consultation where we would be pleased to assess the particulars of your case, answer any questions that you might have and offer you an estimate of the likely compensation amount that you could be entitled to.