Thyroid Cancer Misdiagnosis & Thyroid Cancer Negligence Claims
Thyroid cancer is a rare, but often very treatable type of cancer. However, if you are misdiagnosed you may suffer unnecessarily, facing delayed treatment and the potential worsening of your condition and outlook.
Each year 3,700 people in the UK are told that they have thyroid cancer. If you are one of these people it can be an extremely worrying time, but if you have experienced a delay in treatment or misdiagnosis due to negligence, you will rightly be even more concerned. Swift and accurate diagnosis of thyroid cancer is vital; if you feel that the care or treatment you have received from medical practitioners has been inadequate, you may be able to take legal action.
Sheldon Davidson Solicitors are highly skilled in the area of medical negligence and have helped many victims of thyroid cancer misdiagnosis and negligence to claim the compensation they deserve.
Talk to us today – your initial consultation with us is free, and we will quickly establish whether you have the grounds to make a claim for misdiagnosis. If we agree that you have a case, we will fight with all of our expertise and experience to make sure that you receive what you are entitled to.
Do I have a claim?
If you have been misdiagnosed with thyroid cancer, and as a result you have suffered from any of the following, you may have grounds to make a claim for compensation:
- a delay in getting treatment for thyroid cancer, due to a misdiagnosis of something less serious
- unnecessary treatment or surgery based on an incorrect diagnosis
- an absence of diagnosis.
If you feel that your treatment has been negligent, and you have suffered as a result, speak to us as soon as possible to establish whether you have a strong claim for compensation.
What compensation am I entitled to?
If, following our initial consultation we think that you have a claim, we will assess your situation to establish what compensation you are eligible to claim. General damages are the most commonly paid costs in a claim, designed to compensate for any pain, suffering or loss of amenity. This is calculated by considering several factors, including:
- whether the misdiagnosis has impacted on your life expectancy
- mental or physical pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the misdiagnosis
- the length of time you will need to recover.
Additionally, you may be able to claim for loss of income if you were unable to work as a result of your illness, and any other expenses you may have incurred as a direct result of your misdiagnosis. Speak to your solicitor for a personalised estimation of the amount that you may be able to claim.
How do I make a claim?
If you wish to make thyroid cancer misdiagnosis claim, talk to one of our medical negligence experts as soon as possible. If we take your case, you can leave the work to us; we will determine if what has happened to you was negligent and will identify the person or party responsible. We will then work to prove the following:
- That you had a relationship with a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care
- That the practitioner acted negligently in diagnosing, or misdiagnosing your condition, and that they made errors that you would not expect another equally qualified practitioner to make.
- That you have been caused suffering, pain or injury as a result of negligent care, or that your thyroid cancer has progressed further than it would have done if correctly treated.
Are there time limits for making a claim?
In general, as with all medical misdiagnosis claims, you have three years to make a claim for thyroid cancer misdiagnosis.
There may be exceptions to this rule in limited circumstances, but it is always best to seek legal advice as early as possible. In many cases you may not be aware for some time that the advice or treatment that you have received was negligent; in this case the 3-year limit will start from the 'date of knowledge'. Speak to us without delay - one of our legal experts will be able to advise you on your circumstances.
What is thyroid cancer?
Thyroid cancer is quite rare, affecting 3,700 people per year, according to Cancer Research UK. It more commonly affects women and occurs when cells in the thyroid gland begin to grow in an uncontrolled way.
The thyroid gland is responsible for making and releasing hormones into the body and is situated at the front of your neck between your collar bones.
Types of thyroid cancer
There are several different types of thyroid cancer:
- Papillary: the most common type of thyroid cancer; roughly 80 to 85% of thyroid cancers are papillary.
- Follicular: about 5 to 10% of thyroid cancers are follicular. It most commonly affects middle aged people, and sometimes spreads to other parts of the body.
- Medullary: this is rare, making up 3 to 10% of diagnosed thyroid cancers. They can be genetic and may spread to other areas of the body.
- Hürthle cell thyroid cancers: these are also rare, accounting for around 4% of all diagnosed thyroid cancers. It tends to affect more women than men.
- Anaplastic: Anaplastic thyroid cancer is rare, accounting for just 1 to 3% of thyroid cancer cases, but it is the most aggressive type, growing more quickly than other types.
- Rare types: small cell lymphoma is a rare type of thyroid cancer.
Diagnosing Thyroid Cancer
There are several symptoms of thyroid cancer, and it is important to seek advice from your GP if you have any of them, as early diagnosis is key. They include:
- A lump in the neck – most lumps are not cancerous, but it is important to seek advice to rule out the possibility of thyroid cancer
- A sore throat, or difficulty in swallowing
- Difficulty in breathing
- A hoarse voice for longer than three weeks.
It can take a while for symptoms to become noticeable, as most thyroid cancers tend to be slow growing, so it is important to visit the GP as soon as you notice anything unusual.
Your GP should thoroughly examine you and ask you questions about the symptoms that you are experiencing, as well as your general health. If they are concerned that your symptoms might be thyroid cancer, they should initially arrange for a blood test to check if your thyroid is functioning properly.
If they are still concerned, you should be referred to the hospital for further testing.
There are a couple of tests that can help to diagnose thyroid cancer:
- Needle biopsy – this is a procedure where a very fine needle is inserted into a lump on your neck to diagnose whether or not it is cancerous. You may not need a local anaesthetic for the test, and you will be able to go home immediately afterwards. You should receive the results within a couple of weeks; if the results are not conclusive, you may need a surgical biopsy.
- Ultrasound scans – these scans can be used to examine your thyroid and neck to establish whether there are lumps in the neck, how many there are, and whether they are solid or fluid filled. Ultrasound scans are completely painless, and you should have the results within a couple of weeks.
If the tests confirm that you have thyroid cancer, you will need to have further tests to establish what stage your cancer has reached. These may include:
- A CT scan
- An MRI scan
- A Thyroid scan
- A PET scan.
If you feel that your diagnosis has not been taken seriously, or followed up correctly, or you feel that you have not been given the correct tests or treatments and your illness has worsened as a result, contact us.
We will listen to you and if we think you have a claim for compensation, we will help you to get the treatment and recompense that you need.
Treatment for thyroid cancer
There are a number of treatments available for thyroid cancer, and broadly speaking it can be effectively treated in many cases.
Treatment options will depend on:
- the type of thyroid cancer that you have
- how far the cancer has grown, or spread
- the grade of cancer, determined by how the cells look under a microscope
- your general health
Options for treating thyroid cancer include:
- Surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid, known as a partial or total thyroidectomy.
- Radiotherapy to kill cancer cells with high energy waves.
- Chemotherapy can be used to treat advanced thyroid cancer with cytotoxic drugs.
- Targeted cancer drugs may be an option for certain types of thyroid cancer.
The survival rate for patients suffering from the more common types of thyroid cancer is around 90%, but survival rates depend on several factors.
One of the most important factors is the stage that your thyroid cancer has reached at the time of diagnosis.
Where there has been negligence, or misdiagnosis the failure to correctly diagnose and treat the cancer can result in a less positive outcome, and this may be ground to make a claim for compensation.
It is really important that each type of treatment and its implications are explained thoroughly to a person with thyroid cancer. Each treatment, whilst having the potential to be lifesaving, also carries the risk of side effects that can be potentially far-reaching, so it is vital that patients give informed consent for any treatment that they receive.
How does a misdiagnosis of thyroid cancer occur?
It is essential that thyroid cancer is correctly diagnosed as early as possible, so that you can begin treatment quickly. The earlier diagnosis and treatment occur, the better the long-term prospects; a delay can mean that the disease has chance to spread and may, in some cases sadly become untreatable.
The misdiagnosis of thyroid cancer can occur at any stage in your illness after the point that you present to a medical practitioner with symptoms. Misdiagnosis generally falls into three main areas:
- Missed diagnosis – or a failure to diagnose your illness. This can occur if your GP fails to examine you, or to refer you on for tests when your symptoms suggest that you might have thyroid cancer. Missed diagnosis can also occur when test results are misinterpreted or are not acted on promptly.
- Incorrect diagnosis – A lump in the neck can often be a symptom of other health conditions, and if you have been misdiagnosed with another, less serious condition, you may likely have experienced a delay in getting the right treatment for your condition. If you have been misdiagnosed with a less serious condition, you may also have been given treatment for that condition, which you did not need and may potentially have had health consequences.
- Late diagnosis – if your condition was diagnosed later than it could have been as a result of negligent care, then you may be dealing with thyroid cancer that has progressed to a more advanced stage than it should have done. Any delay in receiving treatment may have an impact on your prognosis.
Why trust Sheldon Davidson Solicitors with your claim?
We at SDS Solicitors understand what a difficult time you will be facing if you have been misdiagnosed with thyroid cancer, and we don’t believe that you should have to suffer as a result of medical negligence.
We know that we can’t turn back the clock and undo what has happened to you, but we will do what we can to support you through the process of making a claim, and to get you the medical care and financial reparation that you need.
Misdiagnosis of thyroid cancer may mean that you need medical care and treatment that you may not have needed if your case had been diagnosed sooner. Where this is the case, we will seek to recover any costs incurred so that you have one less worry to contend with.
Based in the North West, we have acted on behalf of hundreds of clients nationwide. You don’t need to face this alone – speak to us today, and let us support you at this difficult time.
Our Manchester Medical Negligence Lawyers, act regularly for clients across Greater Manchester including Ashton, Bury, Bolton, Radcliffe, Prestwich, Middleton, Failsworth, Rochdale, Oldham, and Whitefield.
As recognised personal injury solicitors, 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.
Call us for free now using the number at the top of the page or complete the online contact form and a member of our team will get back to you.
Sheldon Davidson Solicitors are a Lexcel accredited law firm. The Lexcel standard is only awarded by the Law Society to firms who meet the highest standards of practice management and customer service.
With Sheldon Davidson Solicitors in Manchester, you can be confident that your thyroid cancer misdiagnosis claim is in safe hands.