Cancer is caused by the cells of the body changing and growing in an uncontrolled way. This can affect any part of the body. There are four main types of tumour:
- Carcinomas affect the organs such as the breast, stomach, pancreas, lung, skin and colon.
- Sarcomas affect the muscle, bone and other fibrous and supporting tissues.
- Lymphomas affect the lymph nodes in the neck, groin, armpits, liver and spleen.
- Leukaemias are cancers of the blood-forming bone marrow.
Except in the case of leukaemias, cancer cells originate in a single isolated growth (primary tumour); but tumours can grow through organs and spread to other parts of the body. These “seeds” will infiltrate other parts of the body where they grow and form secondary tumours. This spread of cancer is called metastasis.
If cancer is suspected, tests are required to confirm the diagnosis. The tests carried out will be specific to the type of cancer. If the tests show that cancer is present, the cancer will be staged and graded. These processes record the size of the tumour, how far it has grown and how quickly it is growing, and this information in turn can help to decide upon the treatment plan. Treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Cancer treatment has improved greatly in recent decades. As a result, many cancers, if diagnosed early enough, will have a good prognosis. Many will be curable. Early diagnosis is therefore of the utmost importance.
Regrettably, sometimes the diagnosis of cancer is delayed or missed by a GP or hospital doctor. This can arise because the examination is inadequate; there is poor history-taking; there is a delay in referring for specialist opinion; there is inadequate investigation; or results are incorrectly interpreted.
A delayed diagnosis of cancer can be devastating to both the patient and their family: the treatment required may be more extensive, there may be increased side effects from the treatment and the prognosis may be poorer.
If you have been affected by cancer, please contact our clinical negligence team at Pictons Solicitors LLP. We will deal with your claim sympathetically and advise you of your rights to claim compensation.
If you or a member of your family has suffered as a result of negligent clincal care, please contact our friendly and approachable team of solicitors on 0845 263 7509 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.