Case Study: Missed Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Compensation: £22,000

Jane, 48 years old, Macclesfield

A man has secured £22,000 compensation with the help of JMW after doctors failed to correctly report his wife's positive breast cancer diagnosis which unfortunately led to her death.

When Jane was 42 years old she noticed a lump in her left breast. She was seen by her GP who referred her to her local Hospital.

She underwent a mammogram, ultrasound scan and fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC). There was a positive breast cancer diagnosis and plans were arranged for either wide local excision or mastectomy in either case with axillary clearance. Following the review of the histology a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) was substituted in place of the cancer diagnosis. Jane underwent a left sided mastectomy and a specimen of tissue was removed for biopsy. The specimen of breast tissue was reported as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) with an area of micro-invasion.

Medical negligence

At a multi-disciplinary review, it was decided that Jane needed 6 monthly reviews with annual mammograms to the age of 50 and with mammograms on an 18 monthly basis thereafter. She did not undergo axillary clearance.

A year later, Jane discovered another lump under her left arm. She returned to the hospital where she underwent an ultrasound scan. The scan appeared to indicate "a solitary normal looking lymph node." Jane underwent a further review in clinic and a repeat ultrasound scan of the axilla.

At that point the reviewing doctor advised in their report that the node be biopsied or excised as neoplasia could not be excluded. A handwritten note on the report stated, "Bring back to the clinic urgently please."

The hospital did not arrange for Jane to re-attend the hospital and a year later she developed a swelling in a vein of the upper left arm which was painful. The GP referred her back to the hospital. She was told that the scan performed a year earlier had showed some worrying changes of the lump. Jane underwent left axillary clearance. 25 of the 28 lymph nodes removed were found to contain metastases.

Fatal delays

Jane started chemotherapy at a regional Oncology unit and began radiotherapy after a few months. When she turned 48 years old Jane was found to have developed a recurrence of the cancer in the chest wall and she had developed Lymphodema of the left arm. Her condition deteriorated seriously and she passed away within six months.

The claim

JMW Solicitors alleged that the hospital was negligent in failing to correctly report a positive breast cancer diagnosis as a result of testing the sample of breast tissue from the left mastectomy and in the management of the axillary lump a year later. However, it was acknowledged that Jane would have probably suffered relapse in any event.


The matter was settled and Jane’s husband was awarded £22,000 compensation.

If you have suffered in a similar manner, speak to a member of the JMW team about how we can help you. Give us a call on 0800 054 6512. Alternatively, we will get in touch with you if you fill in our online enquiry form.

< Back to main breast cancer negligence claims page

Endorsed By


Read more
Call us now on 0800 054 6512 for advice on Clinical Negligence

Spotlight on Cauda Equina Syndrome
Wildcard SSL Certificates