08 October, 2021
Every ten minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK. It is important especially now to check your breasts. For months, the coronavirus put many areas of breast cancer on pause. Almost one million women in UK have missed vital breast screening due to COVID-19. Although the risk is smaller for men, breast cancer can affect men too.
Early signs of breast cancer can be a lump in a breast, a painful breast or armpit, or a discharge from the nipple. A doctor will most likely perform a manual exam and send you for a mammogram. A mammogram examination is painless and takes about ten minutes.
If the mammogram shows a lump, your doctor should order a biopsy. This test will show if the lump is benign (harmless) or malignant (cancerous). Early detection is a life saver. By way of a simple operation the lump is removed after which the doctor will discuss further options with you.
The biopsy taken will determine the staging of the cancer.
There are four stages for breast cancer, with one being the earliest and four meaning it has spread to other parts of the body.
Here are the different stages, as shared by Cancer Research UK.
There are two parts to stage one:
There are two parts to stage two, and this stage means the cancer is in the breast or nearby lymph nodes:
There are three parts to stage three, and this stage means the cancer is in the breast or nearby lymph nodes:
This means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body such as the bones, lungs, liver or brain.
The Nottinghamshire Live reported that hospitals in Nottinghamshire are failing to refer half of breast cancer patients for treatment within the targeted time. In July, Sherwood Forest Hospitals referred just over 50% of breast cancer patients for treatment within 62 days, according to NHS figures. This falls well short of the NHS target of 85%, which accounts for patients who are unfit for treatment or choose to delay it. The trust, who run King's Mill Hospital, Newark Hospital and Mansfield Community Hospital, apologised for the low referral rate, blaming it on a backlog of patients following Covid.
NHS targets say most people urgently referred by their GP for suspected breast cancer should see a specialist under the 2-week rule. Once they have been diagnosed, patients should start treatment within two months (62 days) of being referred.
If you have been affected by a late diagnosis, then we at Forbes may be able to assist.
For more information contact Leonie Millard in our Clinical Negligence department via email or phone on 01254 770517. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.