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The consequences of a delayed diagnosis and treatment of cancer can be devastating, especially when the delay increases the risk of the cancer being fatal. The disruption to cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more than 45,000 fewer people starting cancer treatment between the start of the pandemic and March 2021[1]. For every 4 weeks cancer treatment is delayed, there is an estimated 10% reduction in survival rates.

In relation to clinical negligence claims surrounding the delayed diagnosis of cancer, the key question is whether the outcome would have been different had the cancer been diagnosed earlier?

Medical experts must work backwards to establish the staging of the cancer at earlier time intervals, to decipher whether the cancer could have been cured had there not been a delay in diagnosis. They do this by establishing how far the cancer has progressed, and how aggressive it is. Using this information, alongside data research, the experts can estimate the stage the cancer was at when it should have been diagnosed. They can even say, on the balance of probabilities, at what point in time the cancer was isolated and had not spread.

In many cases, patients could have been cured of the cancer had it been diagnosed earlier, but unfortunately, tens of thousands of cancer patients will lose their lives prematurely due to the delay in their cancer diagnosis.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, radiographers are finding more Stage 4 cancers that are too far advanced to be cured. If you think that you have experienced a delayed diagnosis of cancer, we encourage you to contact us to establish whether we can assist.  

[1] https://news.cancerresearchuk.org/2021/05/14/one-year-on-how-has-covid-19-affected-cancer-services/

Elizabeth Larner 20

How can we help?

Our specialist solicitors can discuss your diagnosis with you and recommend the best next steps. Hannah Goodman is a Paralegal in the Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury team.


Hannah Goodman – Paralegal 

If you need help with this issue contact Hannah today [email protected]

call 01803 225159

[email protected]

Delayed diagnosis