The Truth About the Misdiagnosis of Cancer and Compensation Claims

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice Misdiagnosis of cancer & compensation claims

If you have been a recipient of a misdiagnosis of cancer, you may be entitled to compensation as a consequence of medical negligence. While there are legitimate reasons why cancer may be misdiagnosed, unfortunately, there are numerous examples of negligence. It is therefore important to take advice as soon as possible as your ability to work, and regular income may be impacted.

While we have seen great improvements in the diagnosis of cancer in recent years, there have also been many worrying incidents of misdiagnosis as a consequence of medical negligence. Sometimes it can be difficult to prove negligence, but a claims management company will help you to present your case in the strongest manner.

We will now take a look at some of the more frequently asked questions regarding the misdiagnosis of cancer.

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What Are the Most Common Reasons for Misdiagnosis of Cancer?

We have seen numerous occasions where cancer scans have been misinterpreted, tissue samples have been mixed up, and inexperienced personnel have been assigned to review cancer scans.

Even if the diagnosis has been corrected at a later date sometimes, it can be too late and the patient’s life expectancy reduced.

Is Cancer Misdiagnosis Something of a Postcode Lottery?

A recent report by Cancer Research UK suggested there are significant variations in cancer diagnosis across different branches of the NHS. The report went on to say that if all regions were able to achieve the best levels of early diagnosis, a staggering 11,000 additional cancer sufferers would be saved each year, saving £44 million on treatment.

When the report was published, a staggering 52,000 cancer cases were missed each year, costing lives and more than £200 million in additional treatment.

Do Medical Practitioners Have a Duty of Care to Their Patients?

Yes. In cases of medical negligence, the level of care received by the patient would be compared against that reasonably expected from someone in a similar position with similar experience/training.

In effect, this is a type of peer test that would ultimately decide whether an individual doctor was negligent. This is commonly referred to as the Bolam test and goes back to a case in 1957.

What Types of Cancers Are Most Commonly Misdiagnosed?

Unfortunately, colon cancer, rectal cancer, lung cancer and ovarian cancer and the four most commonly missed cancers in the UK. Even though breast cancer tends to grab the headlines, there have been significant improvements in diagnosis in recent years.

It is also worth noting that instances of missed/misdiagnosed cancer cost the NHS in excess of £150 million a year in extra treatment.

How Can I Prove Medical Negligence?

In order to pursue a compensation claim, you will first need to prove negligence with a misdiagnosis of cancer. The Bolam test is a very strong indicator of negligent treatment, and details of your medical records would also prove useful.

These would show:-

  • Treatment received
  • Test results
  • Lifestyle risks
  • Missed opportunities for treatment

There is no doubt that the Bolam test itself is extremely persuasive when looking to prove negligence. However, the more evidence you can provide, the higher the chance of proving negligence.

Does a Misdiagnosis of Cancer Always Result in Death?

Due to the serious nature of cancer, there are many occasions where a misdiagnosis has significantly reduced the life expectancy of the victim. That said, a misdiagnosis of cancer doesn’t automatically mean your life would be cut short.

However, you may be forced to go through uncomfortable and potentially life-changing treatment which wouldn’t have been required if you have received the correct diagnosis earlier. Remember, after proving negligence; you can pursue compensation for, amongst other things, pain and suffering.

Should I Seek Professional Advice for a Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim?

Medical negligence is one of the most difficult things to prove, and misdiagnosis can be one of the most challenging. It is therefore important to take professional advice at the earliest opportunity.

Personal injury claim companies will review your case and give you an honest assessment of your chances of success. They may suggest additional evidence is required, such as a third-party medical examination, and be able to help obtain this and other useful information.

How Much Does It Cost to Pursue a Medical Negligence Claim?

While each case is different, a medical negligence claim could last anywhere between 12 months and 18 months and rack up significant legal expenses. As few claimants have that kind of money to hand, or would be willing to risk covering legal fees without a guaranteed outcome, many claims management companies will offer a “no win, no fee” alternative.

What Is a “No-Win, No Fee” Arrangement?

A “no-win, no fee” arrangement would allow a claims management company to pursue a claim of medical negligence and compensation on your behalf. However, this option would only be offered if they believed your claim had a minimum 60% chance of success.

The claimant would not be liable for the claims management company’s expenses which would be reclaimed from the defendant in the event of a successful prosecution.

What Is a “Success Fee”?

When negotiating a “no-win, no fee” arrangement your personal injury claims adviser will also discuss what is known as a success fee. In exchange for removing the claimant’s liability for their expenses, the claims management company would negotiate a share of any compensation received.

This level is normally around 25%, although it can be higher with complex and long-running claims.

What Is the Timescale for Claiming Compensation?

When looking to claim compensation as a consequence of a misdiagnosis of cancer, the three-year window of opportunity will begin on the date of the correct diagnosis. It is very important to note that this timescale does not begin at the time of the original misdiagnosis, but the moment the claimant was correctly diagnosed.

There will be instances of misdiagnosis involving minors or those with insufficient mental capacity to make a claim. In these cases, either parents or legal guardians can stake a claim for compensation on their behalf.


While there is no doubt that instances of misdiagnosis of cancer are falling year on year, one misdiagnosis is one too many. There will be occasions where a spouse, parent, child or legal guardian may need to take up the reins of a compensation claim in the event of the claimant’s death.

In these situations, it may also be possible to claim compensation for family members who were financially dependent on the deceased.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Medical Negligence Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Medical Negligence Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for the negligence they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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