Misdiagnosis -Bowel Cancer

Misdiagnosis -Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer, one of the most prevalent cancers in the UK, is often subject to misdiagnosis and diagnostic delays.

It is well known that a diagnosis of bowel cancer at an early stage dramatically increases the chances of survival. 

Recent research found that the UK performed the worst of the countries analysed in diagnosing bowel cancer (which includes both colon and rectal cancers) early, with only 14.4% of cases diagnosed at the earliest stage (stage 1), compared with 20.8% in Australia and 22.3% in Canada[1].

Bowel cancer symptoms

The symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Blood in your stool.
  • An unexplained change in stool habits.
  • Frequent abdominal pain.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Lethargy and extreme tiredness for no obvious reason.
  • A noticeable lump in your abdomen.
  • Your bowels still feeling full after using the toilet. [2] 

Many symptoms of bowel cancer are shared with other illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome or haemorrhoids, anal fissures, polyps’ ulcerative colitis and diverticulitis. If there is a delay in diagnosis, treatment over and above what would have been required with earlier diagnosis, may be required[3].

Bowel cancer diagnosis

The first step to obtaining a diagnosis is to attend your GP and explain your symptoms. If appropriate, your GP should arrange for you to see a specialist. Tests for bowel cancer include a test that looks for blood in a stool sample and a test to look in your bowel called a colonoscopy and scans are often required[4].


An earlier diagnosis in bowel cancer and treatment occurred, the impact of this condition on patient’s physical and mental health would be reduced and it may also be possible that some of the more serious surgical interventions could be avoided or at the very least delayed. 

In the unfortunate event of experiencing medical negligence, it is imperative to seek legal advice promptly to safeguard your rights and pursue an appropriate approach for recourse. Consulting with a qualified solicitor specialising in medical negligence is crucial in navigating the complex legal scenery associated with such cases.

A solicitor can assess the details of your situation, gather relevant evidence, and provide a comprehensive understanding of your legal options. They can guide you through the process of filing a medical negligence claim, ensuring that you take the necessary steps to seek justice and compensation for any damage incurred.

Additionally, legal professionals can liaise with medical experts to strengthen your case and help you navigate the complexities of the healthcare system. Taking prompt legal action is essential to protect your rights, hold responsible parties accountable, and secure the compensation you may be entitled to for any physical, emotional, or financial harm endured as a result of medical negligence.

Our team has decades of combined experience in successfully advising and representing clients in Medical Negligence.

If you would like to discuss an issue, please get in touch to arrange a free no obligation consultation. We’re available by email or phone.

[1] Bowel Cancer UK

[2] Cancer Research UK

[3] Public Health Wales

[4] Cancer Research UK

Kate Barge

Clinical Negligence Solicitor


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Kate Barge

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Kate has been a specialist solicitor in clinical negligence and dental negligence claims since 2010. During this time, she has mainly worked on the claimant side of negligence although she has obtained experience working at defendant firms which has given her invaluable insight.

Previous to qualifying as a solicitor Kate had a career in nursing qualifying as an RGN and subsequently working as a Theatre Sister at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. During her time working in clinical negligence she has run high value claims including a claim against the rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson.

She loves travel and wild life and has recently been scuba diving off the coast of  Mexico with turtles,  sting rays  and moray eels.

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