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Written by Julie Marsh

Our client, Jayne, suffered a delay in diagnosis of breast cancer. After noticing a lump in her breast while having a shower, she attended her GP. Her mother had died from breast cancer just six years earlier, and she was concerned that she could face the same diagnosis. The GP wasn’t concerned, despite undertaking an examination, and explained to Jayne that she was suffering with a fibrous lump.  A second GP confirmed the diagnosis, and Jayne returned home, feeling relieved that she had nothing to worry about.

Ten months later, Jayne noticed puckering below her nipple, and booked another appointment with a GP. This time the GP which she saw was extremely concerned, and immediately referred Jayne to hospital for further investigation. Jayne then had to undergo a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsies. She was told she needed immediate treatment for breast cancer that had begun to extend towards the chest wall.

Jayne had chemotherapy to reduce the size of the breast lump, and then had a mastectomy and radiotherapy treatment. It was only once the radiotherapy treatment was complete that Jayne could have a breast reconstruction procedure.

Jayne contacted Boyes Turner Solicitors when she initially received her diagnosis. Although she was concerned about the delay in diagnosis she experienced and wanted to take action against the GP, but she also needed to focus on her treatment. Jayne returned to Boyes Turner once she had completed chemotherapy, and had recovered from her mastectomy operation. We were then able to take the delay in diagnosis of cancer claim forward for her.

A negligence claim was investigated against the GP, and we were able to show that not only was the GP’s advice negligent but that if Jayne had been referred ten months earlier for treatment, she would have avoided the need for radiotherapy treatment. She would also have been able to have just one procedure involving the mastectomy and reconstruction, rather than having to wait a number of months to have the reconstruction carried out.

Julie Marsh, an expert solicitor specialising in delay in diagnosis of cancer claims, commented on Jayne’s case:

“When Jayne first contact Boyes Turner she was understandably angry and upset at the treatment she had received. She wanted to understand the process of bringing a delay in diagnosis of cancer claim and the timescales involved. After I spoke to Jayne, I realised that she felt she needed to get past the initial phase of her treatment, before starting the legal case. When Jayne came back to speak to me a number of months later, she had overcome a very big hurdle, having a mastectomy operation. However, she was struggling to come to terms with the impact of the delay in diagnosis, and the delay she would have to have in respect of the reconstruction procedure. This had a devastating impact on her, and I think is an element of a case like this that can often pass by unnoticed by the defendant. Any individual who has to undergo life changing and body changing surgery, will feel self-conscious and self-aware. To know that this was caused by poor treatment, only makes the situation more difficult to deal with. I was so glad that I was able to assist Jayne in bringing a claim to address her concerns to the GP in question, and to raise awareness of the issues involved in the diagnosis of breast cancer. I think Jayne is an inspiration to women suffering with breast cancer. She has been involved in a fashion show for the Breast Cancer Care charity, and has been very brave in sharing her story with the public”.

See the full story here.