Breast Cancer

October is breast cancer awareness month

Every year approximately 60,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK, that is nearly 1 in 8 women. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the UK. NHS choices have reported approximately 350 to 400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

In 2013 breast cancer equated for approximately 15% of all cancer cases in the UK.

More women are now surviving breast cancer due to early diagnosis and treatment and a better awareness amongst the public and health profession. Approximately 85% of woman diagnosed with breast cancer survive longer than 5 years.

Symptoms of breast cancer can include, but are not limited to:

  • lump in your breast
  • change in size of your breast or the shape
  • skin dimpling 
  • inverted nipple
  • rash on the nipple
  • discharge from the nipple
  • lump or swelling under your armpit

Diagnosis
All woman aged over 50 in the UK are entitled to a free screening for breast cancer, known as a mammogram.

It is important to be aware of breast cancer, and check your body often to look out for any of the above symptoms or signs. If you discover any of the above symptoms then you must immediately visit your GP.

Your GP will then perform an examination and if they are concerned will make a referral. Under the NHS this referral must be made within two weeks if your GP suspects breast cancer. The two week referral and when to refer is outlined in NICE Guidelines. Once you have been referred, the consultant or doctor may recommend a mammogram.  If the mammogram result is abnormal or suspicious you may have a biopsy. The biopsy will determine the stage of the cancer and what treatment is required.

Staging
In order for the doctors to understand how to treat a patient and to determine whether the breast cancer is treatable, it will need to be staged, which is usually undertaken through biopsies

  • Stage 1 – the tumour is less than 2cm and there has been no spread to the lymph nodes
  • Stage 2 – the tumour is between 2 to 5cm or the lymph nodes are affected – it could be one or the other or both. 
  • Stage 3 – the tumour is between 2 to 5cm and maybe attached to the breast structures, the lymph nodes may be affected but no evidence of spreading to other parts of the body
  • Stage 4 – the tumour can be any size and has spread to other parts of the body (also known as metastasis)

The above is a basic summary of the stages of breast cancer. You doctor will also consider the grade and tumour indictors. Generally speaking, the earlier the diagnosis the more positive the outlook usually is.

Depending on the stage of the breast cancer also determines the way the breast cancer will be treated, which can be one of the following or a combination:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy
  • hormone therapy
  • biological therapy

In order for the statistics on breast cancer to improve, it is important for people to be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. It is also important to note that breast cancer does not only affect woman and whilst not as common, can affect men. So if you are concerned about a lump or any of the above symptoms then seek guidance and advice from your GP without delay.

Some of the information above has been sourced from breastcancercare.org, macmillan.org and NHS UK.

Click here for further information on Cancer  - failure to diagnose 

How can claiming for breast cancer compensation help me?
During the compensation process a medical expert will look at your case to determine whether or not the doctor who treated you provided negligent care, which will give you piece of mind about the treatment you received. 

Why choose NewLaw solicitors?
If we can prove that there was a failure to refer or a delay in diagnosis and that your prognosis is worse as a result of a failure to refer and/or delay in diagnosis, then we can look to obtain damages for the loss that you have suffered.  

Your life expectancy may have been altered as a result of the delay and you may be concerned about the loved ones you will leave behind. We can help to ensure that they are financially provided for in the event you may pass away. We understand that receiving bad news can place strain and worry on you and our specialist team, such as our welfare managers are here to help make that process easier for you. 

We can pursue interim payments on your behalf to ease the financial burden so that you have one less thing to worry about.

What can you do?
If you or a family member are concerned about whether a cancer diagnosis should have been made earlier, contact one of our experienced solicitors from our medical negligence team on 0333 003 1909 

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