Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. There are approximately 44,500 new cases of lung cancer and 35,895 deaths resulting from lung cancer every year. These statistics are frightening. What is also frightening is most people presume you must be a smoker to be at risk of the disease. In fact, although smokers account for over 85% of cases, non-smoking individuals may also be diagnosed with this type of cancer. Factors such as your working environment and being surrounded by smokers also influence an individual’s likelihood of developing lung cancer.
There are two types of lung cancer:
- Primary lung cancer
- Non-small-cell lung cancer
- Small-cell lung cancer
- Secondary lung cancer: cancer that has spread from another part of the body to the lungs
In the early stages of the disease, the symptoms are rarely noticeable until the cancer has spread. This means the recovery rate for lung cancer sufferers is poorer than those individuals diagnosed with another form of cancer. Nonetheless, the symptoms to look out for are:
- A persistent cough
- Coughing up blood
- Persistent breathlessness
- Unexplained tiredness and weight loss
- An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- Difficulty and pain whilst swallowing
- A hoarse voice
- Chest and shoulder pain
It is important to seek medical advice as soon as you experience any of these symptoms. The earlier the diagnosis, the more successful the proposed treatment is likely to be. Where an individual is diagnosed early and the cancer has not spread, usually surgery is recommended. If surgery is not suitable, radiotherapy is the second option however if neither are suitable, chemotherapy is relied upon. Chemotherapy is used where the cancer has spread too far for surgery or radiotherapy to be effective.
Therefore, it is clear when these symptoms develop, time is of the essence. The two key foundations in bringing clinical negligence claims in relation to cancer are misdiagnosis or a delay in referral. Especially in the instance of lung cancer, there is no time for either of these errors to occur, as it could potentially result in death. Early diagnosis can make a significant difference to an individual’s recovery prospects. If you were misdiagnosed or there was a delay in referring you and as a result, your cancer advanced, you may be eligible to bring a claim for clinical negligence.
The National Health Service is a landmark in Britain. Nonetheless, mistakes can occur and sometimes these mistakes can be negligent. In 2015, guidelines were produced for GPS by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to help people be referred quicker; this is useful given there is no national lung cancer screening programme currently in existence. Tests to be referred for include a Chest X-Ray, CT Scan, and PET-CT Scan. This indicates the bar is set high and ensures GPs provide a high standard of care, encouraging an early diagnosis. However, despite these guidelines, individuals, unfortunately, may experience care below the standard to be expected when they begin to show signs of lung cancer, leading to a delay in referral or misdiagnosis.
WHAT TO DO NEXT:
If you, or a loved one, have been let down by the medical profession and suffered an injury as a result, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Lewin Solicitors for some free, confidential advice on 0113 200 9720 or contact us online here to discuss how we can help you.
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