​Skin Cancer Negligence Claims

March 30, 2017

Most of us have either booked or are busy planning our Summer Holiday now that Winter is on the way out and Spring has arrived.   We all ensure to pack sun cream to ward off the damaging effects of the sun but how many of us think about sun damage leading to skin cancer?   How many of us know when to see our doctor about the moles on our body?

There are three types of skin cancer – malignant melanoma; squamous cell carcinoma; basal cell carcinoma.  The most serious type is melanoma, though fortunately it is not the most common out of the three.   Skin cancer is the most preventable form simply by applying sun cream, covering up, wearing a hat and sunglasses.  However, according to the British Skin Foundation at least 100,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and malignant melanoma figures are rising fast.  2,500 people die each year from skin cancer and therefore early detection is key.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have produced guidelines to assist medical practitioners identify where referrals for suspected skin cancer should be made, and if followed an appointment should be provided within 2 weeks.  The NICE Guidelines have prepared a weighted 7-point checklist for melanoma cases and indicate a referral should be made for a score of 3 or more.  The checklist is below.

Weighted 7-point checklist

Major features of the lesions (scoring 2 points each):

  • Change in size
  • Irregular shape
  • Irregular colour

Minor features of the lesions (scoring 1 point each):

  • Largest diameter 7 mm or more
  • Inflammation
  • Oozing
  • Change in sensation

There are also high risk factors for melanoma which also need to be taken into account which include fair skin and light hair/eye colour, a family history, a high number of moles, tanning bed use, a previous diagnosis and sunburn at an early age.  The NICE Guidelines also state that even if at first presentation there is no indication of a need for referral, practitioners are recommended to use baseline photography of the mole/lesion and to review in 3 months to detect any changes.

If you have been to see your GP or other health practitioner about a suspicious mole or lesion on your body and having considered the checklist and risk factors you think there might have been a failure to diagnose, or you have been diagnosed already but think there might have been a delay in being diagnosed, then we can advise you whether you have a possible claim.   Any delay in receiving treatment can be detrimental to your recovery and your chances of beating the disease. If you believe that you have suffered a delay in diagnosis of skin cancer, or that your treatment has been delayed, it is possible that this could have had an effect on your long term prognosis. If that is the case and you have suffered detrimental consequences as a result of delay we may be able to help you recover compensation.

Here at Metcalfes we have an experienced team of Medical Negligence Lawyers who can offer you specialist advice.   We deal with all areas of medical negligence including delayed diagnosis. If you believe that you or a family member has suffered as a result of medical negligence then please contact us on 0117 239 8012.  Alternatively, you can email us by using our online contact form and we will be happy to discuss your potential claim with you.

Further Reading:

Website content note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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​Skin Cancer Negligence Claims

Gillian Clark

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