Cancer negligence news


60 seconds with a medical negligence lawyer

Over the following year we will be sharing a series of question and answer articles about our day-to-day lives in the medical negligence team. This week, it’s Rachel Carey's turn, a solicitor in the team.

Rachel qualified in April 2016 and joined the Clinical Negligence team at Boyes Turner in November 2016. Rachel’s clients have suffered obstetric and gynaecological injuries, Erb’s palsy, pressure sores, disability resulting from delayed diagnosis and treatment of cancer. She acts for the bereaved spouses and children of patients who have died as a result of negligent medical care.

  • What made you choose a career in clinical negligence?
    The driving force behind my decision to study law and specialise in claimant clinical negligence work was my desire to help David, rather than Goliath. I have a keen interest in medicine and enjoy using my skills and expertise to help our clients get back on their feet or live a more fulfilling and stress free life following a medical accident. I find it incredibly satisfying to be in a position which allows me to guide clients through the legal process which I know many will find daunting and overwhelming.
  • Which personal skills does it take to succeed at this type of work? 
    It is really important for a clinical negligence solicitor to have empathy, be able to show understanding and have the ability to remain calm in stressful situations. As the majority of the medical accidents we deal with cause life changing injuries which devastating consequences to our clients and their families, I ensure that I always bear that in mind and treat them sensitively and patiently.
  • What is the most rewarding part of your work? 
    I recently met with a young client’s Mum on a case where the hospital had admitted liability. She told me how relieved she was to know that, as a result of the compensation, her son, who has cerebral palsy, would be looked after and taken care of for the rest of his life when her and her husband were no longer able to. She was excited to be able to move into a more appropriately sized and adapted home which could cater for her son’s needs. I could see how much that meant to her and to know that the work I had been a part of had helped was incredibly rewarding and made me realise even more how important the work we do is for people.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Over recent years, the treatment of cancer has advanced dramatically.  Many forms of cancer now have record survival rates. Nonetheless, further research is needed and awareness of signs and symptoms is still the key to beating breast cancer.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month Boyes Turner are supporting thousands of organisations worldwide in highlighting the importance of early diagnosis and prompt treatment to give breast cancer sufferers the best chance of a good and long lasting prognosis.

A diagnosis of cancer is always devastating but detection at an early stage and a prompt referral for treatment are critical to a successful outcome.

As clinical negligence specialists we are regularly contacted by people who have experienced a delay in diagnosis of breast cancer leading to an exacerbation of their condition, the need for more invasive treatment, increased pain and disfigurement. Some of our saddest cases have required us to act for the bereaved partners and children of women whose untreated cancer has resulted in premature death.

Sometimes the delay has occurred because a GP fails to consider breast cancer as a diagnosis and suggest a review of ongoing symptoms. In other cases, having suspected breast cancer, the GP or the surgery staff, fail to refer a patient for further investigations.

We have seen cases where a referral to the wrong specialist has taken place, or where there has been an unnecessary delay in arranging tests or treatment, or follow up from an abnormal test result. In some cases incorrect reporting of scans or test results gives false reassurance which in turn leads to further delay.

Recently scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute published results from a genetic study which found that primary breast tumours do not spread until the later stages of the disease. Research findings such as these reinforce the importance of early action as localised tumours are easier and less invasive to treat and offer the patient a better post-treatment long term prognosis.

If you or a member of your family have suffered serious injury as a result of medical negligence on 0800 029 4804 or email

A big thank you!

On behalf of Julie Marsh, Joanne Bayliss and Suzie Walker of Boyes Turner, we would like to say a big “thank you” to everybody who sponsored the team for the Pretty Muddy Challenge for Cancer Research UK, which was completed on the 15 July 2017.

We are pleased to be able to report that the team raised £1,600 for the invaluable work that Cancer Research UK does in funding research into finding a cure for cancer and helping develop policy to inform government decisions related to cancer and research.

With appropriate medical care, many cancers can now be effectively treated and survival rates can be excellent. Even in cases where there is no prospect of a cure, modern treatment has progressed so that for many, symptoms can be held at bay, and quality of life improved. Of course, this all depends on early detection and national screening programmes are in place for some cancers (breast, cervical and bowel) to help with this.

For the most part, the standard of cancer care in the UK is excellent. However for a small minority of patients, things can go badly wrong, perhaps because their GP failed to refer them to a specialist, crucial investigations were not undertaken, or test results were misreported resulting in misdiagnosis.

We are highly experienced in pursuing cancer negligence claims, having acted in a large number of cases, for both adults and children.

Keep on Running:

Julie Marsh is continuing the running theme this summer and is taking part in Parallel London with Elizabeth Legacy of Hope.

You can read more here, and find her sponsorship page here if you would like to donate.

Cervical Screenings for Cervical Cancer Awareness Week 2017

It’s cervical cancer awareness week and we’re supporting Jo’s Trust in raising awareness of the importance of smear tests in preventing cervical cancer.

Cervical screenings, also known as a smear test, are used to detect changes to the cells of the cervix, which are called cervical abnormalities.

All women in the UK aged 25 to 64 are offered cervical screening for free. It involves a 20 minute appointment with the test itself lasting no longer than 3 minutes.

Women under the age of 25 aren’t routinely invited for screenings. This is because normal developmental cell changes in the cervix can look very similar to abnormal cell changes and can lead an abnormal result being return and cause unnecessary worry.

However after stories such as Jessica Bradford’s emerging, there are campaigns underway to lower this age limit. Jessica, aged 18, was told she was too young to have the disease when she attended her doctors with symptoms. But after a series of tests, scans and biopsies, doctors confirmed she had cervical cancer.

So what can you do if you are not routinely offered a smear? It is important to be aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer.

These can include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Discomfort during sec
  • Lower back pain

Even amongst those who are offered the free appointment there are still a large proportion of women not attending their cervical screenings.

Jo’s Trust estimates that in the past year 1.12 million women did not take up their screening invitation, with the highest proportion of non-attendances in the 25 to 29 age bracket. There is also a worrying trend of women over 50 not attending the appointments, due to the presumption that screening becomes less important the older you get.

So why go?

Since smear testing was introduced it is estimated that 4,500 cases of cervical cancer have been prevented each year. It has been shown to prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers, meaning that seven out of 10 cases of women who would have developed cancer can be prevented.

Cervical Cancer Awareness Week 2017

Last year during Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, our client Josie, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2011, wrote a blog looking at how she coped following her diagnosis and talked about the process of bringing a claim.

One of the things Josie mentioned to us regularly, was the great support available through the charity, Jo’s Trust, the only UK charity dedicated to helping women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. You can find out more about their vision and the work they do in Emily’s recent article here.

The work that Jo’s Trust do is brilliant and they offer a wide range of services to support individuals who have received a diagnosis of cervical cancer.  They also offer support to the family, friends and loved ones of those directly affected. So whether you would like to ask a question or simply have a confidential chat with someone who understands better what you are going through, there are various options available:

  • Website – there is a wealth of information on the Jo’s Trust website to include a very informative FAQ page, as well as, treatment, support and future plans.
  • Helpline – for those times when you really need to chat to someone who you know will understand or have a question answered accurately, the freephone Helpline is available Monday – Friday (times vary daily so have a look at the website) and is manned by volunteers who have had a personal experience of cervical cancer/ abnormalities.
  • Ask the Expert – if you have a more specific question related to cervical cancer, you can submit this to an expert manned by a number of volunteer medical panelists who have the expertise to answer your question. The service is completely confidential.
  • Online Forum – a great way to interact instantly with others, any time or day in a welcoming environment, is via the online forum and can also be used by partners, family members and friends.
  • Support groups – if you’d prefer a more face to face approach, the local support groups offer an opportunity for women to meet up and share information or to just have a chat over a cup of tea.  These groups are led by trained volunteers who have either been personally or professionally affected by cervical cancer/ abnormalities.
  • Let’s Meet – every year Jo’s Trust organise a free one day information day, available to all. As well as being an opportunity to meet new people, the day includes a key note speaker and various informative workshops.

Cervical Screening - Fact or Fiction

Cervical Cancer can be prevented! No really – it can! Fact!

But there are so many myths and concerns around having a smear test that many women put it off.

Remember – the best way to prevent cancer is to have the test. Fact!

Have a look at our myth buster poster below and take the test – does the myth ring true with you? Have you put off having your smear because you are worried it might be painful? Do you think because you are over 50 years old, it doesn’t apply to you?

Don’t delay – book your smear today!

Read our Cervical screening - Fact or Fiction PDF here.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 22-28 January 2017

The Facts

Every day, 9 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3 women per day will lose their life to the disease. Despite these shocking statistics, Jo’s Trust report that 1 in 4 women don’t attend their cervical screening appointments and this falls to 1 in 3 for women aged between 25 and 29.

Jo’s Trust report that women don’t attend their screening appointments because the feel embarrassed, are scared of the procedure or simply don’t having enough time to arrange the appointment.

Whilst it may be tricky to find the time to arrange an appointment, as screening prevents approximately 75% of cervical cancers developing, Jo’s Trust are doing all they can to promote cervical screening and educate women about what it actually involves.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2017

Jo’s Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer. It provides information and support 24 hours a day to those affected by cervical cancer. They also organise a number of campaigns including #SmearForSmear which is due to take place on the first day of Cervical Cancer Prevention week.


The #SmearForSmear campaign was first launched by Jo’s Trust in 2016 and was a great success, trending on twitter for several days. It will be taking place again this year on 22 January 2017.

The aim of the campaign is to reach as many women as possible and spread awareness about cervical cancer and the importance of cervical screening. It’s not just about taking a selfie and posting it on social media, it’s about spreading the word and getting people talking about prevention screening. It is hoped that everyone who takes part will talk to family and friends and encourage them to attend regular screening appointments.

Do you #knowyourbody? Gynaecological cancer awareness month 2016

This September it is gynaecological cancer awareness month #GynaeMonth.Gynae Cancer Green Ribbon

It is very scary to read the statistic that 55 women in the UK will be diagnosed with gynaecological cancer today…… and 21 will sadly die.

Raising awareness of gynaecological cancer

Throughout the year the charities @Jo’sTrust and @eveappeal have been working hard to raise awareness of the symptoms of cervical cancer, and it is great to see the topic back in the news this week as Jessica Rose Knowles has been announced as a new ambassador for Jo’s Trust, following her battle with cervical cancer.

The emphasis this year of the #GynaeMonth campaign is the concept of #KnowYourBody, and the focus will be highlighting three key issues:

  1. The importance of using correct terms about gynae symptoms, cancers and the female body;
  2. Uncovering whether we are talking to our daughters about gynaecological issues early enough and whether we are comfortable doing so. Are we equipping young women for the future?
  3. Getting them to open up about what is normal for them and address the stigma that surrounds gynaecological issues.

Stop cancer from being embarrassing

It is hoped that the campaign will encourage women to have discussions with friends and reassess what they think is “embarrassing” about their own bodies.  The focus is not only on cervical cancer but all gynaecological cancers.

Gynaecological cancers do not discriminate and can affect any women at any age. This is why Eve Appeal, launched in 2002, is focused on gynaecological cancer research.  Their aim is to reduce the current 40% mortality rate of gynaecological cancers in the UK.


A – Ovaries, B – Cervix, C – Vulva, D – Fallopian Tubes, E – Vagina, F – Uterus (womb)

You can find out more about the different types of gynaecological cancers, including womb cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer and vulval and vaginal cancer, on the Eve Appeal website.

It is hoped that by raising awareness this September people will become more educated about the symptoms of gynaecological cancer, and it will encourage people to speak to their GP about unusual gynaecological symptoms. 

Do you need a smear test? #CSAW

It’s Cervical Screening Awareness Week 2016 (#CSAW) so we are highlighting the importance of cervical screening (smear test) appointments and when you should be attending yours.

Cervical screening (aka the smear test)

If you are female and aged between 25-49 years old, you will be invited for a smear test every three years. Between the ages of 50-64 you will be invited every five years.

Regular screening is vital because not all women will have symptoms. In addition, cervical cancer screening can pick up abnormal cells before they even develop into cancer.

Even if your smear test is not overdue, if you have any of the following symptoms, please go and see your GP as soon as possible.

Symptoms checker

The three main symptoms include:

  1. Abnormal vaginal bleeding
    – between periods
    – after sex
    – after the menopause
  2. Pain
    – during sex
    – pain in the pelvis
  3. Vaginal discharge with an unpleasant smell

For more information about cervical screening, please visit the Jo’s Trust website.

Cervical screening - what's it all about?

We are supporting Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust during Cervical Screening Awareness week (13-19 June 2016).  The focus is encouraging women to attending cervical screening (smear tests) to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

Many women will have questions about smear tests, especially if they’ve not attended cervical screening before.  Questions might include:

  • What is cervical screening?
  • Am I eligible for screening?
  • What happens when a screening sample is taken?
  • What happens with the results of screening test?

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, a charity committed to supporting women affected by cervical cancer & abnormalities, answers these questions. Click here to read more.

For further information on cervical screening, contact Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

Cervical Screening Awareness Week

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