• We are extremely proud to have secured over £100 MILLION in damages for our clients between 2018 and 2019!
  • We're delighted to be featured in the Times Best Law Firms 2019 guide under personal injury
  • Potter Rees Dolan were on the Legal 500 Awards 2018 insurance shortlist for the North West

Cancer Claims

The specialist solicitors at Potter Rees Dolan are here to help if you have suffered as a result of delayed or misdiagnosed cancer

We understand the stress and confusion you are likely to feel at this time, and we know the impact such a diagnosis can have on your life. You may feel like you have nowhere to turn, but we are here to offer you expert legal advice and support, which aims to make your life that little bit easier.

We work tirelessly to get you the answers and the compensation you deserve, as we have seen first-hand what a difference it can make to your quality of life. Our team offers a highly personal service, and we strive to give our clients a voice when things have gone wrong. We are dedicated to improving standards in healthcare.

About cancer delay and misdiagnosis

Cancer misdiagnosis is extremely serious, and is a worrying prospect for everyone. However, today many cancer sufferers can be treated effectively with the right medical care. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the greater the chance of recovery.

That said, early diagnosis does not always happen, even in cases where the patient has sought medical attention quickly. Errors made by medical professionals can result in a delayed or missed diagnosis, which can put the patient’s health at serious risk.

Those who suffer delayed or misdiagnosed cancer can experience severe psychological suffering, and unnecessary or unpleasant treatment or surgery.

What causes cancer diagnoses to be delayed?

Common mistakes that can result in delayed diagnosis include:

  • Failure to examine a patient
  • Failure to monitor those with a family history of cancer
  • Failure to recognise signs and symptoms
  • Failure to further investigate symptoms
  • Failure to refer to a specialist quickly enough
  • Misinterpreted test results
  • Test results that are filed away or lost

How can I pursue a cancer-related clinical negligence claim?

Potter Rees Dolan’s clinical negligence team has earned a reputation as one of the very best in the UK. Boasting a combined experience in serious injury law of over 60 years and comprehensive medical insight, the team has an unwavering dedication to help families recover the compensation they deserve.

About Helen Dolan, head of the department, Chambers 2018 says: “Helen is scrupulous in her preparation and organisation, highly experienced, and her knowledge and insight was extremely reassuring.”

Chambers 2018 says, Lesley Herbertson “has recently handled a delay of treatment case concerning cauda equina. She has additional capabilities in assisting with failings in district nursing and delays in diagnosis leading to brain injuries.”

Gill Edwards is described as being and "exceptionally good solicitor" and garners praise from a client who says: "The way that she helped me is amazing. She is fantastic.”

About our clinical negligence team, our clients are quoted in Chambers 2018 saying: "it was the personal attention we received, the knowledge of the specific needs and future hopes of the claimant, and consideration for our family life that made the firm the right match for us."

Our clients tell us that it is the empathy and care with which we act that sets us apart. We specialise in serious and catastrophic injuries, so we know how difficult it can be to live with severe disability. It is our aim therefore, to make the claim process as stress-free for you and your family as we can.


Most medical negligence cases are funded on the basis of a no win, no fee arrangement, otherwise known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. This means we can investigate your potential claim and you will not be asked to pay any costs if your case is not successful. The detail of how a Conditional Fee Agreement works will be carefully explained to you at our first meeting.


“Dealing with solicitors and legal matters can be very daunting. You made the experience very easy and in a friendly manner. Thank you very much.”

Mr and Mrs L, Glossop

“Friendly, understanding, clear and accommodating. Took the time to explain rationale for decisions and legal processes. Exactly the right balance of direction and recommendation. Very personable service, can't fault the service. From receptionists to solicitors to specialist help.”

Mrs B, Turton

Read more testimonials from our clients here.

What happens next?

Initially, we will discuss your circumstances and help you to understand whether or not your case can be pursued. If it is agreed that it can, we will gather all the necessary evidence to create a strong case in order to give you the best chance of recovering compensation.

We will obtain all relevant medical records and go through each of these with you, then instruct independent experts in the appropriate areas of specialism to advise on whether or not you or your family member has received substandard treatment. Once we have supportive expert evidence, court proceedings will begin and the claim will be processed as quickly as possible.

Speak to us

To speak to a solicitor about your circumstances, contact us on 0800 027 557. We can also get back to you at a suitable time if you complete the online contact form on the side of this page, or by visiting our contact page. If you have someone specific in mind that you would like to speak to, visit their profile on our people page.


How is cancer diagnosed?

If a symptom has been noticed, patients’ first port of call is usually a GP. A doctor will typically ask about personal and family medical history, as well as performing a physical examination.

High or low levels of certain substances in the body can be a tell-tale sign of cancer, which is why blood, urine and other body fluids are tested to help doctors to make a diagnosis. While abnormal test results are not always a sign of cancer, these results can be incredibly useful for medical professionals to gain a clear picture of your overall health.

Other procedures carried out to detect cancer can include:

  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound
  • Nuclear scan
  • MRI
  • PET scan
  • X-ray

In most cases, a doctor will also need to perform a biopsy to make a diagnosis of cancer. In this procedure, the doctor will remove a sample of tissue, then a pathologist will look at the tissue under a microscope.

Useful Information

Radio Necrosis

This is a major complication following the use of radiotherapy on cancerous tumours when normal tissue is destructed. Necrosis means the death of cells in bones, organs, and soft tissues.

Radiotherapy is common method used to treat cancer, but it can also affect the rest of the body as the tissue in the surrounding area is also exposed.

Tissue damage begins once the patient is exposed to the radiation beam. The damage starts to interfere with the normal processes of supplying blood to the irritated areas, causing the tissue to change.

If a surgeon attempts to repair the damaged tissues, he or she may confront numerous complications. When attempting a skin graft, the surgeon has to connect to tissues that are ischemic (where there is a restricted blood supply) which means the tissue may heal with difficulty or not at all.

Radio necrosis develops in four stages:

  • Acute clinical period (first six months) : No clinical signs may arise during the first few months unless tissue therapy has exceeded its radiation tolerance limits.
  • Sub acute clinical period (second six months) : The recovery from acute radiation damage ends and permanent damage becomes evident.
  • Chronic clinical period (second to fifth year) : Further damage occurs and the most significant problems arise due to chronic deterioration of the microvasculature and tissue damage.
  • Late clinical period (after five years) : Physicians should be alert to signs of new cancers at this stage as soft tissue radio necrosis develops quite slowly. Very few recognisable skin changes arise during first six to 12 months after radiation damage.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells arising in the squamous cells - the thin, flat cells that make up the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis).

Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCCs) often look like scaly red patches, open sores, or elevated growths with a central depression.

This is the one of the major forms of skin cancer as they are usually found in areas frequently exposed to the sun due to increasing UV exposure on the skin over time.

For this reason, they more commonly found in people with an outdoor profession/lifestyle, the elderly or those with a fair complexion susceptible to burning.

However, SCCs can also occur in other tissues such as; lips, mouth, oesophagus, urinary bladder, prostate, lung, vagina, and cervix.

The symptoms of an SCC can vary but it begins as a small nodule and, as it enlarges, the centre becomes necrotic and sloughs and the nodule turns into an ulcer. This usually presents itself as an ulcerated lesion with hard, raised edges.

The tumour itself may be in the form of hard plaque often with tiny blood vessels. It can lie below the level of the skin and eventually invades the underlying tissue.

Squamous Cell Carcinomas are usually investigated through a biopsy and classified under a microscope to determine the subtype.

They are generally treated by surgical excision although there is the option to use topical chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is usually used as treatment in patients for whom surgery is not feasible.

The common prognosis of Squamous Cell Carcinoma is positive with less than 4% of cases spreading to other parts of the body. Some particular forms of SCCs have a higher, though still positive long-term outcome.

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