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Delayed diagnosis of Bowel Cancer

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A delayed cancer diagnosis and a series of hold-ups in referrals, appointments and communication with the patient left our client waiting months for treatment and her colorectal polyps developed into bowel cancer.

This was yet another claim for a delayed diagnosis of cancer settled against the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust.

“Potentially, it’s a backlog from the pandemic, but sadly, we are seeing more clients who have been diagnosed late with cancer.  Cases like this would have been treatable had they been spotted earlier, or the patient’s treatment would not have been as invasive,” said Solicitor and Head of Medical Negligence Jacqueline White.

Late Bowel Cancer Diagnosis

In this case, our client’s polyps were such that when they were initially assessed, it should have been clear that they carried an increased risk of bowel cancer.  Guidelines state that they should have then been removed completely, but in a breach in duty of care by the defendant, they went untreated for some time.

From her initial appointment in August presenting with altered bowel habits, it was ten months later when she was finally treated, and what were once benign polyps had become a malignant rectal adenocarcinoma.

What is Adenocarcinoma?

Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer which develops in the glands lining your organs and is a common form of colon cancer.

Our client went from benign polyps to stage 3 bowel cancer which spread to her adjacent lymph nodes.

She was told by the clinician treating her that she would need a long course of chemoradiotherapy to shrink the tumour, to be followed by surgery.  A Consultant colorectal surgeon acknowledged there had been delays in her diagnosis and treatment and apologised to her at the hospital.

“Unacceptable delays in treatment at the Royal Oldham Hospital, a place she trusted to care for her, led to a serious condition for my client,” said Jacqueline White.

“No appropriate pathways for treatment were established to ensure expedited treatment of pre-cancerous polyps and there was a total breach in duty of care by the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust.  I am glad that we were able to secure a £50,000 settlement for her to help with future care costs and equipment needed.”

How can we help

For legal advice on medical negligence compensation cases or missed cancer claims, contact our medical negligence solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

Written by Jacqueline White


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