Case Study: Delayed Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Compensation: £15,100

Glenice, 57 years old, Calderdale

This case study outlines how we helped a woman to secure more than £15,000 after the negligent actions of a hospital resulted in delayed diagnosis of her breast cancer.

If you are looking for information on how JMW can help you to make a claim yourself you can go directly to our breast cancer claims page here.

Glenice, a Lollypop lady, attended her GP when she noticed a lump in her right breast. She had previously had a benign breast lump removed. Other than this, she was generally fit and well.

She was referred to hospital and seen 4 weeks later. Glenice recalls having a mammogram and the doctor then suggested an ultrasound scan of the breast and a core biopsy. The histopathology of the biopsy was reported as showing " definite evidence of micro-calcification" and the doctor graded the biopsy findings as DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ).

'No evidence of invasion'

Glenice attended the hospital again a month later. She recalls the doctor told her that he had obtained the test results from the biopsy, and informed her that the lump in her breast was pre-cancerous. He advised removal of the lump. Within 3 weeks, Glenice underwent wide local excision under general anaesthetic. She was discharged home the same day. The tissue from the wide local excision was reported as "No evidence of invasion is seen".

The hospital doctor wrote to the GP, stating:

"I have reviewed this lady recently who had a suspicious lesion in the right breast, and core biopsy revealed DCIS. As you are aware, she had a wide local excision of this lesion, which confirmed DCIS. Histology of the lesion confirmed that it was an oestrogen and progesterone receptor negative and consequently, following discussion at the multi-disciplinary team meeting, we have arranged for her to discuss the option of radiotherapy."

Glenice was subsequently referred a Regional Centre for Cancer Treatment, and underwent a course of radiotherapy. Thereafter, Glenice continued to be reviewed as an out-patient.

Almost a year later Glenice felt a lump, like a pea, on the right side of her neck. She attended her GP, who said that because of the problems she had had with her right breast, he would send her to hospital for review. She attended the hospital for an out-patient appointment and a scan was recommended. By the time Glenice attended for ultrasound scan, the lump had gone down completely. Glenice continued to be reviewed at intervals

Cancerous breast lump

Two years later, Glenice attended hospital for a further review appointment. She recalls that the doctor told her the histology that had been done on the removed breast lump had been reviewed and was found to have been cancerous. He explained that the hospital needed to take some of the lymph nodes to check whether or not the cancer had spread. Glenice was shocked.

Glenice underwent axillary clearance to level 2. The axillary clearance confirmed the presence of metastatic tumour in 7 lymph nodes. When seen by a Consultant Oncologist for treatment, Glenice recalled that at the appointment he seemed very angry about what had happened. In a letter he noted: "Her pathology was reviewed following concerns about a locum Pathologist working in the Trust."

Treatment and side-effects

It was recommended that she have adjuvant chemotherapy, as well as discussing the standard FEC regime. Unfortunately, Glenice suffered significant side effects of her chemotherapy regime and underwent an additional course of radiotherapy.

JMW's breast cancer solicitors alleged that there was a negligent failure on the part of the hospital to properly report the tissue taken from the wide local excision. With appropriate care, the histology would have reported an area of invasive carcinoma. At that point Glenice would have undergone axillary surgery soon after. Her chemotherapy would have been less intense and less toxic over a shorter period of time. As a consequence of the negligence, Glenice experienced distressing side-effects from her chemotherapy, such as considerable pain and discomfort in her legs - so much so that she could not walk.

Compensation awarded

The hospital awarded Glenice compensation of £15,100.

Have you or a loved one also suffered delayed diagnosis of cancer?

If you have suffered as a consequence of medical negligence, you may be able to claim compensation for the pain and hurt caused. Find out more by giving us a call on 0800 054 6512, or by completing our online enquiry form and enabling a member of the team to get back to you.

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