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Missed Bowel Cancer Death

Missed Bowel Cancer Death

If your loved one has passed away because medical practitioners failed to diagnose their bowel cancer in a timely fashion, you could be entitled to pursue a claim on their behalf.

Diagnosing bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is associated with very distinctive symptoms that should prompt further investigations. These symptoms include:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • A change in bowel habits such as increased frequency
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bloating in the abdomen
  • Blood in the stools
  • Tiredness

Any patient who presents with these symptoms must be investigated for bowel cancer. Suspicions should be heightened if a patient is over 50 years old or has a family history of bowel cancer. Nevertheless, bowel cancer can affect anyone of any age, so it is prudent to treat any patient with the aforementioned symptoms with caution.

If a patient has sought help from their GP, he/she may first undergo a digital rectal examination. This is because the GP may want to check whether or not a mass can be felt in the rectum. Even if a lump cannot be felt, a patient should still be urgently referred to a specialist for a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy will verify whether or not there are any abnormalities present, and if so, a biopsy of the cells can be taken.

As long as this course of action is taken, the level of care provided by medical practitioners will be considered reasonable.

Failure to diagnose bowel cancer

Unfortunately patients with bowel cancer do not always enjoy a reasonable standard of care. This may happen because:

  • Their GP does not refer them to a specialist for a colonoscopy
  • The colonoscopy results are wrongly interpreted and a tumour is missed
  • Their GP does not re-refer them for a colonoscopy when symptoms persist. In such cases the tumour may or may not have been visible on the first colonoscopy.

A delayed diagnosis of bowel cancer will be very troubling as the condition must be treated in the early stages. If left untreated for too long, the tumour can become so large that any treatment is ultimately ineffective. The patient will therefore have terminal cancer.

If a patient's life expectancy is reduced due to a delayed diagnosis, there will be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.

Claiming for bowel cancer

If your loved one suffered terminal bowel cancer because of a delay in diagnosis and treatment, you will be able to pursue a claim against the GP or NHS Trust responsible. Although this will not undo the pain experienced by you and your family, it will provide some form of redress. To find out more, please get in touch with us today.

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