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Diagnosing Carcinoid Tumours

If you have been diagnosed with a carcinoid tumour but you believe medical professionals missed opportunities to make an earlier diagnosis, you need to talk to a solicitor. This is because you may have been the victim of medical negligence, meaning you will be entitled to compensation for the prolonged pain and suffering you have had to endure.

How to diagnose carcinoid tumours

Carcinoid tumours are often found incidentally, as only half of patients will present with symptoms. In fact, symptoms only really occur if the tumour begins to secrete hormones, which will then lead to a constellation of health complaints, including acute diarrhoea, flushes, palpitations, fast pulse, low blood pressure and asthma-like problems. Together these symptoms make up a condition known as carcinoid syndrome, a clear indicator that there is a problem with the neuroendocrine system.

When someone does complain to their GP of the aforementioned symptoms, no time should be wasted in carrying out further investigations. Indeed, a competent health professional should recognise these health problems as being characteristic of carcinoid syndrome, and should take steps to establish whether or not there is a tumour present. One of the most important tests will be a urine test, as this will show if the levels of serotonin (a hormone) are raised. If so, repeat tests should be performed, and an imaging test (such as an MRI scan or x-ray) carried out. Together, these tests should establish if a patient has a carcinoid tumour.

However, carcinoid tumours grow extremely slowly, often over decades. Therefore a patient will not always suffer any symptoms. But this is not to say that a tumour cannot be diagnosed. Indeed, carcinoid tumours often lead to other health conditions which can, if investigated properly, reveal that a carcinoid tumour is the underlying cause. Such conditions include myocardial infarction, mitral valve disease and mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.

Delay in diagnosing carcinoid tumour what are the consequences?

Because carcinoid tumours grow very slowly, it is likely that even if there is a delay in diagnosis, a patient will still have a good prognosis. This will, however, depend upon where the tumour is situated, and how far the tumour has spread.

Even so, it is possible that if a carcinoid tumour is not removed additional health complaints will arise, including heart disease and mental health problems. Furthermore, a patient will have to endure prolonged pain and suffering.

If this has happened to you, you must speak to a solicitor about your legal position. This is because if medical professionals failed to make a diagnosis, despite the fact you were presenting symptoms or associated health problems, there could be grounds for a compensation claim.

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