Cancer negligence news


Cervical cancer - Why bring a claim?

The impact of a delay in a diagnosis of cervical cancer can be life changing for all involved – for the individual undergoing treatment, and for their family and friends who support them and provide care and assistance during their recovery. 

At Boyes Turner we are aware of not only the long-term effects a delay in diagnosis of cervical cancer can have, but of the restricting effects of its treatment - from fatigue and the acute pain of primary treatment, to its long standing psychological and physical effects.  

A previous client of Boyes Turner has described her journey through brachytherapy (internal radiotherapy) and chemotherapy and the long-lasting effects of the treatment on her.

In the difficult time following a diagnosis of cancer which has been caused by negligent medical delays, it can be hard to decide whether to make a claim for compensation. Everyone’s circumstances are different and the best way to find out is to talk it through, confidentially and at no cost, with one of our experienced and understanding specialist solicitors.

Generally speaking, there might be several good reasons for pursuing a claim.

  • Following a delay in diagnosis, an individual might require specialist treatment, ongoing medication, or specific aids and equipment. The exact nature of the injury, will often determine exactly what treatment requirements will be. Where liability for the delay has been admitted a claim, even in the early interim stages, can help meet these additional costs.
  • People who are undergoing cancer treatment often require care and assistance with their day to day living. This can carry on even after they have been cleared of cancer, especially in cervical cancer cases where there can be longstanding after-effects from the treatment. A successful legal claim will allow for a sum of money to compensate the carer for the care and assistance provided to date, and may provide for such future care as is necessary.
  • Many people often find themselves having to reduce their working hours, either temporarily during their treatment period, or permanently if there are ongoing symptoms. We can help recover lost earnings to reduce worry about financial hardship.
  • In cases where cervical cancer results in a fatality, bereaved families may suffer extreme hardship from the loss of their former loved one’s income. Even if the deceased mother didn't work, her loss will be greatly felt by her dependant family. Whilst nothing can adequately replace the loss of a mother or wife, compensation to help with household services can help keep family life running at this difficult time.

If you or a family member have suffered serious injury as a result of delayed diagnosis of cancer call our specialist medical negligence solicitors by email

Jade Goody: A legacy lost?

Across the UK, cervical screening coverage has fallen in the last year, which means that more than 1.2 million women are not taking up their invitation for smear tests.

The uptake for cervical smears is now at its lowest for 20 years, with take up having fallen across every age in almost all local authorities in England, most worryingly amongst those aged 25 to 49 years.

Sadly, the medical negligence team at Boyes Turner know all too well the impact a delay in diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer can have.  We represent clients who have experienced a delay in recognising abnormal smear results and which in turn results in delays in treatment. As a result of the delays, women need more extensive treatment and the long term prognosis can be adversely affected.

During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week we were pleased to support the work that Jo’s Trust and other cervical cancer charities are undertaking to raise awareness about the implications that a delay in diagnosis of cervical cancer can have. 

The #SmearforSmear campaign seeks to alleviate the concerns many women have about attending a smear, and to reassure them about the process, whilst highlighting the importance of a timely diagnosis.

In 2008, Big Brother star, Jade Goody, announced her cervical cancer diagnosis at the age of just 27, and she died a year later in March 2009. Her openness about her fight against cervical cancer, and her bravery in speaking out about it, brought the message home to young woman across the country, and emphasised the importance of regularly going for a smear. However, Jo’s Trust recently reported that the recent figures suggest that the effect of her openness about her diagnosis and the impact a delay in diagnosis can have has long gone.

Cervical cancer remains one of the most common cancers in woman under 35 but it is also largely preventable with HPV vaccination and treatable with early diagnosis. With one in three young women failing to attend their smear test, the campaigning work of charities like Jo’s Trust is more important than ever. By raising awareness about cervical cancer and the implications of a delay in diagnosis, and encouraging women to attend their smear tests we can help bring an end to this devastating disease.

If you or a family member has suffered medical negligence in relation to cancer we may be able to help. Contact us on 0800 884 0718 or email for a free initial discussion.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week - RCOG call for increased screening uptake

During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, Boyes Turner welcome the FSRH (Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists) and RCOG’s call for urgent action to increase cervical screening attendance rates.

If you’ve been following Jo’s Trust’s campaign #SmearForSmear you’ll already know the importance and the benefits of regular cervical screening in reducing your risk of cancer. However, NHS Digital have reported that attendance for free, NHS cervical screening during NHS Cervical Screening Programme 2016-17 was at its lowest in 20 years. Whilst increasing numbers of women are being invited for screening, the uptake in the highest risk age group of 25 to 49-year-olds was only 69.6%.

Suggested reasons for the low attendance rate include local authority budget-driven cuts reducing the number of local settings in which cervical screening is offered, such as SRH clinics. Meanwhile, overburdened GPs are missing opportunities to catch those who have missed out by offering opportunistic appointments for screening at their surgeries.

These additional barriers are simply compounding the problem already encountered with existing barriers (such as fear, lack of awareness) which charities like Jo’s Trust are working so hard to overcome, making it more important than ever to raise awareness of the life-saving benefits of attending your appointment and having your smear.

Early detection of abnormal cells is the key to the avoidance of cervical cancer, along with HPV vaccination among pre-teen and teenage girls.

When left undetected and untreated, cervical cancer not only causes death, but leaves its survivors with lifelong physical, emotional and psychological injury.

Join us and Jo’s Trust, this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, in urging female friends and family to #ReduceYourRisk and join us in promoting cervical cancer prevention by posting your lipstick #SmearForSmear selfie. For details on how to get involved, click here.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week - Reducing the Risk of HPV

During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week Boyes Turner are supporting cervical cancer charity, Jo’s Trust, in raising awareness about cervical cancer. The theme of this year’s prevention week is “Reduce Your Risk”, and that of those you care for, by understanding how this devastating condition can be recognised, treated and prevented. 

We now know that the vast majority of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV, or the human papilloma virus, an infection passed on by any form of sexual contact. So, let’s be clear about a few facts at the outset:

  • 80% of people will be infected with a genital HPV infection at some time in their lives.
  • Your first or only sexual contact with anyone at all can put you at risk.
  • HPV infection does not imply sexual promiscuity or infidelity.

The problem with HPV is that, whilst it is very common, it is a symptomless infection. It can go undetected in the body for many years. Some people’s strong immune systems enable them to clear themselves naturally of HPV. It is not known why some people’s bodies can and others’ can’t. In those who clear the infection, it can take about 12 to 18 months. Smoking is also known to inhibit the body’s ability to clear itself of HPV. When most people with HPV are unaware that they have been infected, it is not surprising that the infection is so widespread. It should be noted that merely having HPV does not in itself warrant treatment, but the silent yet prevalent existence of the infection makes screening for cervical cancer all the more important.

Most forms of HPV are harmless but some high-risk strains can cause changes in the cells of the cervix which, if undetected and treated, will ultimately lead to cervical cancer. If a smear test reveals abnormal cells and high-risk HPV you may be recalled for further examination.

Jo’s Trust estimates that 70% of cervical cancers are caused by just two high-risk types of HPV, both of which can now be prevented (in people who have not previously been infected) by HPV vaccinations which are currently available to girls on the NHS. In 2008 the NHS introduced free, routine HPV immunisation for girls aged 12 to 13, in the hope of protecting them from HPV before they become sexually active. Offered in schools but also available through GP surgeries, the vaccines are over 98% effective in preventing cervical abnormalities associated with the two high-risk HPV strains in women who have the full dose, and in preventing infection with new strains or reinfection of a cleared HPV. They are not effective where the person is already infected with HPV, which is why the NHS is offering immunisation to girls at such a young age.

With research indicating that the HPV vaccine could prevent two thirds of cervical cancers in women under the age of 30 by 2025, assuming 80% take-up of the vaccination, which is now being consistently achieved, there is good reason for optimism that we will succeed in overcoming this devastating condition.

Join us and Jo’s Trust, this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, in urging female friends and family to #ReduceYourRisk and join us in promoting cervical cancer prevention by posting your lipstick #SmearForSmear selfie. For details on how to get involved, click here.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2018 - Join us in supporting Jo's Trust's awareness campaign #SmearForSmear

From 22nd to 28th January Boyes Turner will be joining cervical cancer charity, Jo’s Trust, in urging women to #ReduceYourRisk - the theme of this year’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week campaign - support the campaign by sharing your #SmearForSmear lipstick selfies to raise awareness.   

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35, with 3,000 new cases diagnosed and 800 deaths from the disease in the UK each year. That’s two women dying each day from a disease that could be prevented in 75% of cases by cervical screening that is routinely available on the NHS for free.

A smear test only takes a few minutes once every three years for women aged 25 to 49 who, by virtue of their age, are most likely to develop cervical cancer, and every five years for women of 50 to 64. For women over 65, routine screening is only available to those who have had abnormal previous tests or who haven’t undergone screening from the age of 50. Every woman who is registered with a GP should be invited for screening. Yet the NHS reports that more than 1.2 million women could be risking their lives by not having a smear test, as attendance for cervical screening has dropped in the last year, leaving test rates the lowest that they have been for two decades.

Whilst the smear test only takes minutes, the impact of cervical cancer can last a lifetime - leaving partners and children bereaved and its treated survivors devastated by side-effects, such as infertility, premature menopause, impaired bowel and urinary function, painful sexual intercourse, fear of recurrence, pain and psychological damage.

Join us and Jo’s Trust, this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, in urging female friends and family to #ReduceYourRisk and join us in promoting cervical cancer prevention by posting your lipstick #SmearForSmear selfie. For details on how to get involved, click here.

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 medical 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 medical negligence?

The driving force behind my decision to study law and specialise in claimant medical 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 medical 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 call our specialist medical negligence solicitors by 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.
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The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

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