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Carcinoid Syndrome

If you have displayed the characteristic symptoms of carcinoid syndrome but doctors failed to recognise your condition, you could be entitled to compensation. For more information, contact a medical negligence solicitor without delay.

What is Carcinoid Syndrome?

To understand carcinoid syndrome, it is first necessary to take a look at carcinoid tumours a very rare form of cancer that affects the neuroendocrine system. This system is responsible for producing hormones; to help it achieve this function, neuroendocrine cells are spread throughout the body's organs, including the stomach, bowels and lungs. A carcinoid tumour can therefore develop in any of these locations. Ordinarily, it will start in the appendix or small intestine, although it is not unusual for a tumour to appear in the large intestine, gall bladder, stomach, pancreas or lungs.

A carcinoid tumour normally grows very slowly and carries very few symptoms. However, health complaints will arise if the tumour begins to secrete hormones such as serotonin. This will lead to a separate condition known as carcinoid syndrome, and will occur in approximately 10% of patients with a carcinoid tumour.

Diagnosing Carcinoid Syndrome

If a carcinoid tumour does begin to release hormone-like substances into the bloodstream, a patient will quickly experience the signs and symptoms classically associated with carcinoid syndrome. This include:-

  • Flushing;
  • Fast pulse rate;
  • Low blood pressure;
  • Wheezing;
  • Diarrhoea;
  • Vomiting.

Nevertheless, these symptoms are usually seen with carcinoid tumours that produce liver metastases. Thus a diagnosis cannot always be made upon symptoms alone, as a patient will not always manifest the typical features of carcinoid tumours. Instead, doctors must carry out a series of tests, including blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests and a biopsy. The clinical findings of these results should be sufficient to indicate a carcinoid tumour for example, by showing raised levels of serotonin, or by revealing a tumour that was previously undiagnosed. A treatment plan can be promptly devised, ensuring a patient has the best chance of recovery.

Delays in diagnosing carcinoid syndrome

Unfortunately, carcinoid tumours are often only diagnosed when a patient begins to suffer from carcinoid syndrome, something which can take years to develop. As such, the tumour will not be detected until the later stages of the disease, necessitating a more extensive treatment plan. Although this will of course cause the patient further distress, the delay cannot necessarily be attributed to medical error: indeed, it is not reasonable to expect doctors to diagnose a patient who does not have any symptoms.

However, what will amount to medical negligence is if a patient presents with the symptoms typically associated with carcinoid syndrome, but medical professionals fail to take appropriate action. For example, if doctors fail to arrange further investigative tests or fail to competently analyse these tests to make an accurate diagnosis.

If this sounds like a familiar situation, in that you or a loved one has suffered due to a delay in diagnosing carcinoid syndrome, contact a medical negligence solicitor today. You could be entitled to compensation for the damages you have endured.

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Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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