Delayed skin cancer diagnosis13 Sep 2023 | Elline Demetriou
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We are pleased to have successfully settled a client’s claim for a delayed cancer diagnosis – Basal Cell Carcinoma (“BCC”). The settlement will allow our client to benefit from skin camouflage products to conceal her facial scarring.
Our client, C, had developed a lump on the side of her nose, causing her discomfort. She was concerned it may be malignant due to a family history of skin cancer, so she booked an appointment with her GP in September 2019. The lump was round and had a 1.1cm diameter at the time. C’s GP examined the lump; he prescribed her a topical cream to use 3 times a day and referred C to a dermatologist with a clear textbook description of a basal cell carcinoma in the referral letter as he was concerned by the features of the lump.
C had an appointment with the dermatologist on 10 January 2020 and was diagnosed with a sebaceous cyst thereafter. The dermatologist’s notes specifically record “no features to suggest BCC”. C was given a steroid injection to the ‘cyst’ and provided with a topical gel to apply. She was discharged with no follow-up and no safety netting advice.
C’s lump did not improve over the following months despite C applying the gel she had been prescribed. By late August 2020 the lump was sore, red and bleeding. In mid-September, C decided to see a private dermatologist as she was still concerned by the lump. The lump measured 1.5 x 2 cm at this appointment. She was referred for a biopsy, confirming the basal cell carcinoma diagnosis.
C underwent Mohs surgery (a method for treating skin cancer lesions) in December 2020 to remove the carcinoma and required a skin graft.
C brought a claim against the Defendant for a 9-month delay in diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma, which resulted in her requiring a more invasive procedure than she would have needed had it been correctly diagnosed in January 2020. C suffered from worry and anxiety between seeking medical advice and her diagnosis in September 2020; she was also left with additional scarring due to the delay, which impacted her self-confidence.
Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common types of skin cancer. According to the NHS, it accounts for roughly 75% of all skin cancers. The advice is to see your GP should you have “skin abnormality, such as a lump, ulcer, lesion or skin discolouration that has not healed after 4 weeks”, even if it is unlikely to be skin cancer. You can find more information on BCCs and non-melanoma skin cancers here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/non-melanoma-skin-cancer/
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Rob Aylott Partner
Personal Injury Solicitors
Jodi Newton Partner
Ben Posford Partner
Personal Injury Solicitors
Stephanie Prior Partner
Tahsin Choudhury Paralegal
Sophie Cole-Ducker Paralegal