What Is Liver Cancer?
Liver cancer is a serious type of cancer which begins in the liver. It is a serious condition which largely affects the elderly population, and can prove fatal if not diagnosed.
Cancer which develops in the liver first is known as primary liver cancer, but cancers developing elsewhere can also spread to the liver – known as secondary liver cancer.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cancer of the Liver?
Liver cancer symptoms are often vague, only emerging when the cancer has reached an advanced stage of progression. They may include:
- unexplained weight loss
- nausea (feeling sick)
- jaundice – yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes
It is imperative that liver cancer is diagnosed early – if it is left to develop, some of the liver’s crucial bodily functions may be interrupted, leading to a number of health risks. These functions include removing toxins from the body, helping to control blood clotting, and releasing bile to break down fats and aid digestion. Complications arising from liver cancer may affect the whole body and so, where medical negligence in diagnosis has allowed the disease to develop unchecked, a claim for compensation may often be built.
How Should Liver Cancer Be Diagnosed?
The GP inspecting a potential patient of liver cancer should be aware of risk factors which may affect the likelihood of developing the disease, and ask about these at the earliest opportunity. Whilst an exact cause of liver cancer is unknown, its development is thought to be related to damage to the liver, such as cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis is linked to cases of alcohol misuse with binge drinkers, and hepatitis B or C viral infections. Obesity is also a risk factor which must be considered, as it is strongly linked to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
How Should Liver Cancer Be Treated?
It is only possible to successfully perform liver cancer treatment if it is caught early. Liver cancer is generally graded into four stages of severity: A, B, C, and D. Stage A liver cancer might have a positive prognosis through surgery, but the other three stages represent a serious risk to a patient’s life, with Stage D considered too late to slow down the spread of cancer at all.
Treatment measures at earlier liver cancer stages would involve:
- removing the affected section of liver – known as a resection
- having a liver transplant (removing the old liver and replacing with a healthy one)
- using heat to kill cancerous cells – known as radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
If the disease has reached its later stages, measures can only be taken to address the symptoms (palliative measures). Only 1 in 5 people live for at least a year after being diagnosed with liver cancer.
How Do I Know If I Can Make A Liver Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim?
If a GP or specialist fails to diagnose or correctly treat liver cancer, causing undue suffering to the patient, this may warrant a claim for clinical negligence compensation. There are several circumstances which might lead to a clinical negligence claim as a result of liver cancer.
Firstly, there may be a delay in diagnosis of the disease, which may result from a GP failing to pick up on signs and symptoms which should have led to further investigations. For a claim to be successful, it is necessary to show that the delay has resulted in a worse outcome – as is often the case with liver cancer left unchecked.
Once a diagnosis of liver cancer has been made, it is integral that the patient understands their treatment options. In some cases surgery may carry a significant risk of leaving the patient with severe disabilities and complications from stress and so it is the responsibility of the medical professional to inform their patients of such risks and help advise on the best course of action.
If surgery is decided upon it may not be undertaken with sufficient care. Liver surgery is very complicated, and complications such as damage to the surrounding organs and infection may occur during the operation. If these complications could have been avoided with reasonable care, a claim for compensation may be made.
Finally, there have been cases where patients who did not actually have liver cancer were diagnosed with it. These patients may undergo the psychological stress of believing themselves a cancer patient – even, as has been known to occur, pre-operation tests and treatment which might include surgery – when in fact they had contracted something far less severe. These cases might also warrant a claim due to the distress and time off work and consequent financial losses suffered through clinical negligence.
Our Liver Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims Experience
Errors arising from cases of liver cancer misdiagnosis hold dire repercussions for patients. At Asons, we understand the detrimental effect it has on victims as the cancer worsens while they mistakenly assume they have a less severe condition. This is coupled with the psychological stress from being let down by a trusted medical professional. We know that victims and their families are often hesitant to come forward with their claims. As medical negligence solicitors, it’s our job to do everything within our means to make the process as straightforward as possible.
As with any claim, you may be worried about the potential costs of pursuing your clinical negligence case. To address this common concern, we have devised a variety of options to help you. We help acquire all the assistance that you are entitled to, whilst managing resulting compensation in the most beneficial way possible. We must remind you to be quick, however, as there are time limits in place for making claims of this kind.
We deal with medical negligence claims on a regular basis. If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of substandard treatment, you may be eligible to make a claim. Our Medical Negligence Solicitors will work to gather all of the appropriate paperwork and documentation, whilst speaking to the parties involved, substantiating your medical claim.
Liver Cancer Help And Support
Living with liver cancer can be a constant struggle, both mentally and physically. The British Liver Trust is a support group for all those suffering with liver problems, 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 liver-related diseases.
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.