Prostate Cancer Negligence Claims
Early and accurate diagnosis is crucial to treating and beating prostate cancer. If you or a family member have received an incorrect diagnosis or the wrong treatment for prostate cancer, we can help.
Sheldon Davidson Solicitors work hard to secure the compensation you and your family deserve. We understand the distress that can be caused by medical negligence, especially in cancer cases. Our solicitors offer support and sensitivity to guide you through this process.
About Prostate Cancer
Roughly one in eight men in the UK will develop prostate cancer at some point in their life. The condition can also affect trans women, non-binary individuals and some intersex people who were born with a prostate.
In some cases, prostate cancer grows very slowly and remains contained within the prostate. These cases often do not reduce life expectancy, even without treatment, and your doctor may choose to monitor the condition rather than treat it.
In other individuals, the cancerous cells grow faster and may spread to elsewhere in the body. This is when early treatment is important to prevent tumours from growing in other organs and to eliminate the cancerous cells from the prostate itself.
Medical Negligence in Prostate Cancer
To summarise, there are many different types of prostate cancer where medical negligence may be involved. In the event you feel like your diagnosis or treatment was incorrect, it is worth investigating whether you might be entitled to make a claim.
Our medical negligence solicitors can help you with that decision. We listen carefully to your story and will give you an honest opinion. We will only pursue a claim if we think you have a real prospect of success.
Some examples of when you might have a strong chance of making a successful claim are:
- Symptoms missed or mistaken for something else, especially in older patients.
- Failure to conduct a PSA blood test or failure to interpret the results correctly.
- Failure to notice cancerous growth during a DRE prostate exam.
Negligent Cancer Treatment
- Failure to detect how advanced the cancer is after a positive blood test.
- Excessive or poorly aimed radiotherapy/ultrasound causing damage to healthy tissue.
- Negligent surgery that removes too little of the tumour or too much healthy organ.
- Failure to act quickly enough during long-term monitoring of existing prostate cancer.
Remember this is not an exhaustive list. Negligence can also occur due to a breakdown in communication, for example, if you are not referred to a specialist or they are not told the severity of your condition or risk factors such as a family history of prostate cancer.
What is Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis?
Prostate cancer misdiagnosis is when the condition is missed, found late or mistaken for something else.
Failure to diagnose prostate cancer can mean treatment is not provided or is given at a much later date. This allows the tumour to grow and potentially spread to other organs. In the worst cases, it can result in the death of the patient.
Some examples of this include:
- Failure to refer to a specialist when you present to your GP with prostate cancer symptoms.
- Inaccurate test results or inaccurate interpretation of test results.
- Prostate cancer mistakenly diagnosed as a less severe condition.
- Failure by doctors to investigate worrying test results.
In general, if you feel like your physical or mental health has been put at risk due to the actions of your doctors during the course of your prostate cancer treatment, you may have been the victim of misdiagnosis or other medical negligence.
Equally, if you have lost a loved one to prostate cancer and you believe it should have been detected sooner, you may be able to claim for your loss.
What if my treatment was sub-standard or negligent?
In some cases the diagnosis is accurate but the wrong treatment is given. The appropriate way to treat prostate cancer depends on the severity and type of the tumour, as well as the demographics of the patient.
Some methods that may be used include:
- High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to destroy cancer cells by heating them with ultrasound waves.
- Radiotherapy to kill the cancer cells by radiation treatment
- Hormone therapy to slow the tumour growth and manage other symptoms.
- Surgery to remove the entire prostate (radical prostatectomy).
- Surgery to relieve symptoms (transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP).
- Long-term monitoring to decide if further action is required.
If you feel like your treatment was insufficient for your cancer - or conversely, you feel like your treatment was more invasive than necessary - you may have a valid negligence claim.
The long-term effects of surgery can be debilitating, even if the outcome is positive in terms of eliminating your cancer. If you are now cancer-free but struggle to live with the consequences of your treatment, you may still be able to claim compensation.
How to spot Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer can be difficult to notice as it sometimes has no outwardly visible symptoms.
Some men live with the condition without any significant risk to their health and without ever knowing there are cancerous cells in their prostate.
However, some common symptoms to look out for include:
- Problems when trying to pass urine.
- Need to pass urine more often or at unusual times.
- Blood in your urine.
- Pain when passing urine.
- Erectile dysfunction.
These can be symptoms of other conditions too, but if you go to your GP with any of the above, they should at least consider whether or not you might have prostate cancer.
If they believe you may have prostate cancer, your GP should refer you to a specialist for further examination and make sure you get an accurate diagnosis so any necessary treatment can be arranged.
Who is at risk?
Anyone with a prostate (all men) is at some risk of developing prostate cancer. That includes men, trans women and some non-binary/intersex people. However, not everyone is at equal risk.
Prostate cancer risk increases with age. You may be at higher risk if you are:
- Over 50
- Black African or Afro-Caribbean
- Have a family history of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the most frequent type of cancer in men. According to Prostate Cancer UK, 129 new cases are diagnosed every day and over 11,500 people die from the condition each year in the UK.
If you fall into the higher-risk categories mentioned above, again your GP should be more careful to check if you might have prostate cancer, and failure to do so could constitute medical negligence on their part.
How is Prostate Cancer diagnosed?
There are several methods used to diagnose prostate cancer. Some of the most common include:
- Prostate cells biopsy to visually inspect a sample for cancer cells.
- Digital rectal examination (DRE) to directly physically examine the prostate.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to check your prostate protein level.
If you remember undergoing any of these procedures, but your prostate cancer was not detected until much later, you may have a valid claim that your condition could have been diagnosed sooner.
The correct way for Prostate Cancer to be diagnosed
Individual experiences can vary, but in general, the correct route to a prostate cancer diagnosis looks as follows:
- You present to your GP with symptoms associated with prostate cancer.
- Your GP performs a DRE to physically examine the prostate, to see if it is enlarged.
- A follow-up urine sample test looks for elevated PSA levels.
- If your GP is concerned, you are then referred to a specialist for a biopsy.
- Subsequent observations may be made using a CT or MRI scan of the interior of your body.
A fluorescent dye can also be injected into your body which appears on scans in any abnormal areas, which can be used to check whether cancer cells have spread anywhere else in your body.
Because there is no single test with 100% accuracy for prostate cancer, it's essential that healthcare professionals take care at every stage along the route to diagnosis.
Without doing so, it's very possible for the condition to be missed completely, or its severity and progression to be misinterpreted, leading to a diagnosis that causes lasting harm to the patient.
When can I claim?
If you did not receive immediate treatment for prostate cancer because your doctors failed to act quickly enough, you may be eligible to claim for prostate cancer medical negligence.
The worst cases are when prostate cancer is missed or treatment is delayed for long enough that a previously treatable condition progresses to become terminal.
In many of these incidents, cancer may spread to other organs, which could have been avoided with early intervention when it was still contained within your prostate.
However, you may still be able to claim compensation if your treatment was successful, but caused you to be out of work for longer, incur avoidable medical costs, or otherwise left you out of pocket.
Can I claim for a family member?
You don't have to be the patient. Family members can also claim for the negative impacts of prostate cancer medical negligence.
This happens most often when the condition became terminal and the patient has passed away, especially if this leaves the surviving family members in challenging financial circumstances.
We completely understand the emotions involved with pursuing a medical negligence claim at such a difficult time, but we are here to help you get the compensation your family deserves.
By working tenaciously to hold negligent healthcare professionals to account, we can help you to restore your family's finances, giving you less to worry about for the future.
At the same time, this highlights incidents where the quality of healthcare provided was insufficient, so that action can be taken to prevent other families from experiencing the same negligence.
What does the compensation cover?
Medical negligence claims typically recover financial losses you incur due to the way you are treated.
That can include loss of income if you are unable to work, or the family's loss of income if the patient did not survive their treatment.
You can also claim for spending that you should not have had to pay, for example additional medical costs that arose from the incorrect treatment of you or a family member.
Finally, it may be possible to include a component for pain and suffering, including the mental health impact of going through a deeply distressing experience that could have been avoided.
When you enquire about starting a claim, we can help you to understand exactly how much compensation you might be entitled to receive. This gives you clear expectations from the start of your claim so you can decide whether or not you want to proceed.
How we can support you
The medical negligence team at Sheldon Davidson Solicitors go beyond just offering legal advice. We pride ourselves on listening to exactly what you have been going through so that we can understand how your prostate cancer experience has affected you and your family.
Our dedication to our clients over many years has shown us time and time again that a sympathetic ear is the first step towards improving things for your family after a traumatic experience.
But we go beyond that to pursue negligent healthcare professionals and get you the financial compensation you deserve - putting right the economic impact of your prostate cancer misdiagnosis or inappropriate treatment.
Get in touch with Sheldon Davidson Solicitors
To discuss your circumstances or start a claim, contact Sheldon Davidson Solicitors today. A member of our team of medical negligence solicitors will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
We listen carefully to your particular situation and how it has affected you, your family and your finances. After that, we can give you an honest assessment of your claim and your chances of success.
If you choose to proceed, our prostate cancer negligence solicitors will represent you tenaciously at every step along the way. We will work diligently to secure a financial settlement for you, as well as representing you in court if necessary to achieve success.
Established in 1997 we have grown to become one of the leading Personal Injury & Medical Negligence Law Firms in Greater Manchester. Given our long history in Manchester, we are undoubtedly local specialists but are more than happy to represent clients from across the country.
Our Medical Negligence Solicitors act regularly for clients across Greater Manchester including Ashton, Bury, Bolton, Radcliffe, Prestwich, Middleton, Failsworth, Rochdale, Oldham, and Whitefield.
We can support your needs wherever you live in Wales, England & Northern Ireland.
We specialise in no win no fee claims, which means if you don't win, you won't have to pay.
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With Sheldon Davidson Solicitors in Manchester, you can be confident that your claim is in safe hands.