Bone cancer, otherwise known as a sarcoma, is a very rare type of cancer caused by a tumour that grows within a bone.
What Causes Bone Cancer?
Bone cancer is one of the most misunderstood forms of cancer, with no certain information on why the cancer develops in the first place. Some factors that are thought to encourage the growth of cancerous cells in the bone include:
- Fast growing bones (which is why predominantly growing teenagers and young adults contract the condition)
- Radiation exposure
- Paget’s disease
- Genetic conditions affecting the bones such as Li-Fraumeni
- Previously suffering from retinoblastoma
What are the types of Bone Cancer?
Bone cancer is general is a very rare disease, however amongst this there are four main types of cancer. These are:
Osteosarcoma: This is the most common strain of bone cancer, affecting around 150 people in the UK every year. Young adults and children appear to be the most susceptible to the condition, making it the third most common cancer found in young people aged 5-20. It is known to develop within larger bones in the body such as the thigh and shin.
Ewing’s Sarcoma: The second most common strain of bone cancer is Ewing’s sarcoma, with around 100 patients suffering from it every year. The majority of cases arise in young people aged between 10 and 20 and much like osteosarcoma, develops in the larger bones such as the thigh and shin, as well as the pelvis.
Chondrosarcoma: Unlike the previous two sarcomas, Chondrosarcoma is predominantly found in adults aged 40 to 50. There are only roughly 80 cases diagnosed every year, most commonly found in the thigh bone, pelvis, upper arm bone, ribs and shoulder blades.
Spindle Cell Sarcoma: Spindle cell sarcoma has very much the same characteristics as osteosarcoma, however it affects adults aged 40 and over rather than child and young adults.
What Are The Symptoms of Bone Cancer?
There are several bone cancer symptoms that can suggest the presence of a bone sarcoma, however the most common symptom suffered is the feeling of bone pain. Initially it may feel tender in the area that the cancer is growing, then may begin to worsen into a constant ache that progresses when the affected area is being used, or at night.
Other symptoms include inflammation of the area around the cancerous bones and any nearby joints, making movement quite challenging. In more developed cases, the cancer can force pressure on the bone, weakening it and making it susceptible to fractures and breaks. This can be particularly dangerous as the cancer cells can begin to migrate out of the contained bone and into the surrounding tissue.
More less common symptoms of Bone Cancer can include:
- elevated temperature
- unexplained weight loss
- sweating; usually at night
How Should Bone Cancer Be Diagnosed?
The initial stages of diagnosis will begin with a physical examination being carried out by GP in the affected areas. After this initial consultation, patients may be sent for blood tests to search for any abnormalities in the blood, and potentially rule out any other conditions.
At this point, an orthopaedic doctor will do further tests to discover the root of the problem, they may perform an X-Ray, a Biopsy, an MRI Scan, and even a CT Scan.
Bone cancer can be commonly misdiagnosed amongst both younger and older sufferers. General practitioners often mistake the symptoms of bone cancer and bone marrow cancer as those of arthritis in older patients, and “growing pains” in children and young adults.
How Should Bone Cancer Be Treated?
When being diagnosed with bone cancer, or even secondary bone cancer, the first call to action would be to refer you to a specialist bone cancer treatment centre; of which are spread out across the UK, where you would have access to a multi-disciplinary team of specialists to help you through your treatment.
The first stage of treatment would involve chemotherapy to shrink the tumour and destroy any stray cancer cells that have begun to move into other neighbouring parts of the body.
Following this it may be necessary to remove a section of the affected bone. In large amount of cases, patients can have this area reconstructed- known as “limb-sparing surgery”.
In more unfortunate cases, where the cancer is no longer in a contained area, this often isn’t available and an amputation of some, or all of the limb may be needed. This is more common in cancers that have been diagnosed at a late stage and have progressed too far for an alternative means of treatment. If there has been a delay in diagnosis because of medical negligence, causing you to have a poor bone cancer prognosis, then you may be entitled to make a claim for amputation compensation.
Further chemotherapy, and possible radiotherapy, will be needed following surgery to ensure that there are no cancerous cells remaining.
How Do I Know If I Have a Claim for Bone Cancer Misdiagnosis?
If you feel the standard of care provided by any medical professional was below what is expected, then you may be eligible to make a claim for medical negligence compensation. A lack of diagnosis, or a misdiagnosis of bone cancer, can have a drastic impact on the chances of survival and recovery.
You may be entitled to make a medical claim if your GP failed to recognise the symptoms of bone cancer, causing a delay of treatment. A thorough examination could have resulted in a diagnosis for bone cancer, reducing the suffering the patient was subjected to.
Sometimes a delay in diagnosis, or the complete misdiagnosis of bone cancer, can allow the cancer to spread, become worse and spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs. Bone cancer misdiagnosis can cause significant and unnecessary suffering, with the potential to result in death.
Why Should I Make a Bone Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim?
If you have been misdiagnosed with bone cancer, through medical negligence, then you are more than entitled to apply for medical misdiagnosis compensation. This delay in diagnosing cancer may have affected your life in a very negative way, that need not have happened, had a diagnosis been made in a timely manner. Making a claim for bone cancer medical malpractice misdiagnosis can help you to regain your quality of life; the money can contribute towards any loss of earnings, rehabilitation, or any health care costs that may have arisen during treatment etc. Patients that have been misdiagnosed should not feel apprehensive about making medical negligence claim, as doctors have a duty of care to their patients, failing to fulfil this can lead to devastating consequences, which deserve to be compensated.
Our solicitors can provide expert claim advice in a FREE consultation if you are unsure; simply call 01204 521 133.
How Much Will I Get?
Everyon’e’s claim is entirely different, so it is difficult to advise accurately. However, our Medical Negligence Compensation Calculator may provide a rough estimate of what you may receive. These estimates are based on your injuries and also other factors, such as psychological problems and missed time at work.
‘No Win No Fee’
At Asons Solicitors, we have taken the risk out of making a claim for all of our clients, which is why over 98% of our claims are No Win No Fee. This way, we can allow everyone access to justice, regardless of their financial position. If you choose to make a claim with us, there are no upfront fees or unexpected costs, as we take on the risk for you.
More on ‘No Win, No Fee’ here.
What do I do next?
If you or a loved one has suffered from a bone cancer misdiagnosis, due to clinical negligence, then you should contact us directly for further information and advice about your potential bone cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim.
At Asons, we have an experienced team of medical negligence solicitors, who are experts in dealing with cases of bone cancer misdiagnosis and clinical negligence. They will be able to build you a strong case, offering you support in claiming damages for the sub-standard care that you have suffered.
There are time limits in place for medical negligence claims such as these, so it is important that you contact us as soon as possible to discuss your claim.
Help And Support
Our guide, How Will A Cancer Misdiagnosis Change Your Life? was written to provide information and guidance on how to deal with a cancer misdiagnosis, as well as highlighting the occurrence rates of these errors due to an overworked NHS.
Living with bone cancer can be a constant struggle, both mentally and physically. Sarcoma UK is a support group for all those suffering with bone cancers, and organises regional events for sufferers to meet and discuss their conditions, as well as fundraising events to help fund treatment and research costs for the diseases.