Over 300,000 people are diagnosed with cancer per year. Research shows that often diagnosis could have been made at an earlier stage. So, could we be doing more?
In many cases, a delay in cancer diagnosis is the result of doctors not acting upon symptoms patients are reporting or a misinterpretation of test results.
A report conducted by Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England investigated various cancer types and their survival rates, including: bladder; female breast; colorectal; kidney, renal, pelvis and ureter; lung, trachea and bronchus; melanoma of skin; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; ovary; prostate and uterine cancer.
It was revealed that 17,000 people survived for several years with 10 types of stage 4 cancer.
Whilst the people behind these advancements in cancer treatment and care should be applauded that survival rates have improved, the fact still lies that cancer survival rates in the UK lag behind those of other European countries.
Survival rates for those diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK are a decade behind countries including France and Sweden, according to one piece of research. Another found that the average adult five-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with eight common types of cancer between 2000 and 2007 were lower in the UK than the European average.
Whilst developments in treatment and care mean that even an advanced diagnosis can be managed by treatments that alleviate the symptoms and may also prolong life, living with advanced cancer has its difficulties. As well as the physical symptoms and numerous hospital appointments to deal with, there is also the emotional and psychological effect of having an uncertain future. As ever, experts still petition for the need for earlier diagnosis, prompt treatments and suitable support services to afford such patients a better chance of survival, less pain and discomfort, and ultimately the opportunity to access various invaluable resources and crucial services to support them on their cancer journey.
If you or a loved one has been affected by cancer and believe that diagnosis was either delayed or missed completely and wish to discuss your legal options in a safe environment, please contact our Medical Negligence Department – our team of expert solicitors will be able to assist and can offer free initial advice. Call on 01708 229444 or email us using our contact form.
This article was written by Kim Huggins, Medical Negligence Solicitors at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of November 2017.