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UK: Skin Cancer and Delays in Cancer Treatment

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that an average of 270,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK.

1 in 4 deaths in the UK are cancer related – an average of 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime.

Skin Cancer

‘Skin cancer’ is a broad term used to describe two main types of skin cancer:

  • Melanoma – this develops deep within the skin, and can spread quickly to other organs. Melanoma is responsible for 2000+ deaths each year in the UK.
  • Non-melanoma – The two most common types of non-melanomas are basal cell carcinomas (75%), and squamous cell carcinomas (20%). Non-melanomas develop slowly in the upper layers of the skin, and are one of the most common types of cancer in the world – over 100,000 diagnoses are made each year in the UK.

Those most at risk of developing any one of the different types of skin cancer are those with red hair or blonde hair; those with pale skin; and those with lots of moles or freckles.

Overexposure to UV light is a major factor in developing the condition (although in some cases the disease may be hereditary or linked to lifestyle choices). Wearing sunscreen and avoiding sunbeds will help to decrease your chances of developing skin cancer.

Cancer in the UK

Cancer Research UK reports that the four most prominent forms of cancer in the UK are:

  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Bowel cancer

The incidence of malignant melanoma has increased year on year in both men and women in the UK, with an average of around 5 cases per 100,000 people in 1983, and an average of around 17 cases per 100,000 people in 2010.

Delays in Cancer Treatment

The most recent statistics published by NHS England show that in 2012-2013, 95.5% of urgent cancer referrals made by a GP were seen by a specialist within 14 days.

Of those urgent GP referrals, 1.6% of patients did not begin treatment within 31 days. When this time-frame is doubled to 62 days, the percentage of patients who did not begin treatment – following an urgent GP referral – increases to 12.8%.

A survey by Cancer Research UK shows that in the case of lung cancer in particular, only 64% of patients felt that they had received a “prompt hospital referral”.

The research also discovered that 57% of the patients polled had not been accurately informed regarding their diagnosis.

Claiming with Hampson Hughes Solicitors

If you feel that your cancer diagnosis was at any time delayed or mishandled, you could be entitled to claim compensation.

Our professional and friendly Medical Negligence Team is here to provide you with expert support and guidance – we will handle your claim with the compassion and due diligence that you deserve.

For further information about delays in cancer diagnosis and delays in cancer treatment, and to find out how we can help you, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com.

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