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Delayed Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer

Delayed Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is the seventh most common type of cancer in the UK, with approximately 10,000 new cases every year. As with all many forms of cancer, a prompt diagnosis is vital to ensure a patient has the best chance of recovery. If there is a delay in diagnosis, however, then the cancer could become invasive and the outlook will be less favourable. If this delay was due to the mistakes of medical professionals, then there may be a case of medical negligence.

Types of Bladder Cancer

There are three types of bladder cancer:-

1. The first and most common type is a transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), which makes up 90% of bladder cancer cases. This develops in the inner lining of the bladder, the organ used for storing urine.

2. The second type, Squamous cell bladder cancer, on the other hand, begins in the upper lining of the bladder.

3. The third type is an adenocarcinoma of the bladder, a cancer which starts in the mucus-producing cells located in the lining of the bladder.

Someone with bladder cancer will also have their disease classified as either non-invasive or as muscle invasive. This determines how far the cancer has spread, and can be explained as follows:-

  • Non-invasive bladder cancer (or superficial bladder cancer): cancer that has not spread beyond the lining of bladder;
  • Muscle invasive muscle cancer (or just invasive): cancer that has spread beyond the lining and into the muscles.

A patient's prognosis for recovery depends largely upon whether the cancer is invasive or non-invasive. Indeed, the chance of recovery with non-invasive bladder cancer stands at 90%, but with invasive cancer the outlook falls to as little as 50%.

Diagnosing Bladder Cancer

The most notable symptom of bladder cancer is blood in your urine, along with other changes to urination (such as frequency, urgency or pain). If someone starts to experience these problems, it is vital to seek medical attention without delay. Tests can then be done to confirm whether or not bladder cancer is present. These tests may include: a urine test, rectal (and vaginal) examination, an intravenous urogram (IVU), a cystoscopy, a biopsy, and scans (such as MRI, CT and bone scans).

A Delay in Diagnosis Does This Amount to Medical Negligence?

However, unfortunately there are times when bladder cancer fails to be diagnosed in a timely fashion. This may happen because:-

  • A wrong diagnosis is made;
  • Diagnostic investigations and tests fail to be carried out;
  • A GP fails to make a referral to a specialist;
  • Doctors fail to notice lesions present on scans.

Bladder cancer can spread relatively quickly. So if there is a delay in diagnosis, a patient will be put at an increased risk, as the cancer could go from being non-invasive to invasive. This could mean that treatment will be much more extensive than it would have been had the cancer been diagnosed promptly. Furthermore, a patient's prospect of recovery could be significantly reduced.

What Action Can You Take?

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a delay in cancer diagnosis, you need to seek legal advice. This is because it is possible the treatment you received fell below an acceptable standard, meaning you could make a medical negligence claim. Should you be successful, your case will be settled and you will receive a sum of compensation. This is intended to recompense for the pain and suffering caused, as well as recover any expenses lost as a result of the negligence. For more information on making a claim, speak to a medical negligence solicitor without delay.

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