Pancreatic cancer affects the pancreas which is an organ located in the upper abdomen. The cancer itself usually begins in the ducts of the pancreas. The pancreas is a long, flat gland located behind the stomach. Its function essentially is to convert food into fuel for the body’s cells. The pancreas helps the digestive system by producing hormones such as insulin and also regulates how the body produces sugar. Approximately 600 people are diagnosed with this disease in Ireland each year. Sadly it has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers and can develop without any symptoms until it is at a very late or advanced stage and more usually at an untreatable stage. When symptoms do develop such as abdominal (stomach), upper/middle back pain or loss of appetite and weight loss, these common complaints may not at first be indicated to be pancreatic cancer. More often than not when these symptoms become quite severe, and the person develops a jaundiced type condition of the skin of a yellow/orange pigment along sometimes with an itch that pancreatic cancer can be diagnosed.
Upon presentation to the GP an appropriate referral should be made to a suitable expert such as gastroenterologist and investigations can include a full blood count, kidney and liver function tests and various radiological examinations including X-ray, CT, MRI and PET scans. There are also specialist imaging tests which may be carried out to look at the pancreatic ducts which can help show if somebody might have a pancreatic tumour. Further investigations include a biopsy which is usually taken which is the removal of a small sample of the tumour and examined under the microscope.
Pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis
Unfortunately, the tendency of late presentation of this disease at an advanced stage can often make it inoperable and the treatment can often only extend to palliative chemotherapy. Clearly any mistakes in diagnosing this cancer can have very serious consequences and more so if the opportunity to have surgery was lost. It would usually be necessary to show that a delay in diagnosis was so significant that it affected the outcome so much that the cancer was left to grow and spread to other parts of the body.
For a successful medical negligence claim it would be required to show that the delay in diagnosing pancreatic cancer caused the disease to progress and spread where it otherwise may not have. It is apparent that error in diagnosing pancreatic cancer can have very serious consequences. The usual failures we would know of can include a failure to take a complete and accurate history with the person, either by the GP and/or the oncologist, a failure by the GP to refer to an appropriate specialist, and also an error in interpreting the various investigations and tests, which in turn lead to a delay in the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of the cancer.
Our pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis solicitors
If you or a loved one have suffered harm because of negligent delay or misdiagnosis of pancreatic cancer, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation. It is important you seek advice as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. We believe in putting you our client first and we are committed to achieving the best result possible while all the time remaining sensitive to your needs. Please feel free to reach out to us below and will be pleased to discuss your case and offer no obligation advice.
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