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Delayed breast cancer diagnosis

A South Yorkshire woman has received a settlement of £60,000 following a delay in diagnosing her breast cancer.

One in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their life and early detection is crucial.

Women between the age of 50 and 71 should be routinely invited for a mammogram every 3 years.

During 2016 Mrs C should have been called for her routine mammogram, but a system failure meant she was not notified, and no appointment was made.

The following year Mrs C noticed lumps in her breasts. She made an appointment with her GP the following morning and was referred for further investigations.

It was then that Mrs C was given the shattering news that she had cancer in both breasts and aggressive treatment would be needed.

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy left Mrs C feeling so ill that she said she seriously doubted ever feeling well again.

Then, towards the end of 2018 Mrs C finally received the good news that the treatment had been successful, and she was given the all-clear.

Clare Middleton, medical negligence solicitor, at Atherton Godfrey, commented on the case: “I am delighted that this claim has been resolved.”

Medical evidence showed that if Mrs C had been called for the mammogram in 2016 when she should have been, the cancer would have been more easily treated and she would have avoided the need for more invasive surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Clare added: “The defendant NHS Trust gave an apology with a full admission of liability. This allowed us to reach an amicable resolution to the claim without the need for court proceedings. My client is now able to put this distressing time behind her and move on with her life.”

If you have not had your routine breast screening you should contact your GP. You may be prioritised if:

  • You have been told you are at very high risk of getting breast cancer,
  • You are 53 or over and have NEVER had a mammogram, or
  • You are over 70 but have not been invited for your final breast screening appointment.

More information can be found here:

Checking for breast cancer – How should I check my breasts?

Breast cancer and Covid – Coronavirus (Covid-19) and breast cancer

Need legal advice?

If you have concerns about the standard of or lack of medical treatment and would like to speak to our friendly professionals about a potential medical negligence claim, please call 01302 320621 or email

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Almost half a million women put at risk of breast cancer

NHS helplines have been inundated with calls since it was revealed that almost half a million women in England have been put at risk of breast cancer because of an IT failure.

Breast screening programmes, which were set up in the 1980’s, are routinely offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 each year. Invitations are sent out to women every three years, up until their 71st birthday.

However, a computer error has meant that since 2009, around 450,000 women, between the ages of 68 and 71 failed to receive an invitation for their final screening.

According to Breast Cancer UK, one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime, and this is expected to rise.

The chances of getting breast cancer increase with age. It is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer, with around 150 new cases each day – almost 55,000 a year.

The screening involves a mammogram, which is a type of x-ray that can detect tumours well before they are large enough to feel; this early detection has no doubt saved the lives of many thousands of women.

This was a serious failure that will have affected an unknown number of women. Compensation will likely be paid to those affected; however, in our experience of medical negligence claims, families generally put far more importance on getting answers to their questions and reassurance that it will not happen again.

Health minister, Jeremy Hunt said “best endeavours” would be made to contact the next of kin of women who had missed a scan and subsequently died of breast cancer.

For women who did not receive a final screening appointment:

Women under 72 years who are affected by the issue will receive an appointment letter inviting them for a catch-up screening

Women between the ages of 72 and 79 who are affected will be sent a letter advising them what to do next – a helpline has been set up for these women, call 0800 169 2692

Author: Gail Harris