Case study breast cancer misdiagnosis impacts treatment
The case:

Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Impacts Treatment

Last Updated: 26th Apr 2024
Misdiagnosis Claims

After a GP and general surgeon failed to identify the lump under her arm for months, Mrs M had to undergo extensive surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy upon discovery of her ductal cell carcinoma. See how we resolved her claim despite the Defendants denying any blame.

Jessica Wright - Senior Medical Solicitor
Senior Solicitor
Jessica Wright


Mrs M noticed a pea-sized lump under her right arm and saw her GP. He reassured her that it was not cancer and diagnosed a sebaceous cyst. Over the next few months, the lump slowly increased in size and then it began to weep and developed an offensive discharge. The GP continued with the diagnosis of a sebaceous cyst, but said it looked infected and therefore referred Mrs M to the local hospital for removal.

A general surgeon saw Mrs M at her local hospital two months later. By this time the lump was weeping permanently and had grown larger. The surgeon confirmed a diagnosis of an inflamed sebaceous cyst and added her to the waiting list for removal. However, the Clinical Commissioning Group refused funding.

The GP submitted a fresh application for funding, which was approved six months later. The excision was then carried out a further six months later. By that time, the mass had grown significantly and was fungating. Subsequent investigations revealed that it was actually an invasive ductal cell carcinoma, and Mrs M had to undergo extensive treatment of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.

The misdiagnosis claim was pursued on the basis that when the surgeon examined Mrs M, he failed to recognise that the lesion was not a sebaceous cyst. Arranging further investigations would have diagnosed the breast cancer almost a year earlier. Had that happened, Mrs M would have avoided extensive surgery and had much better prospects of avoiding metastatic disease.


Initially, the Defendants denied both breach of duty and causation, and proceedings were issued. However, the negligence claim was settled for £25,000.

This case was led by Jessica Wright.

NOTE: While our case studies are designed to give an indication of the outcomes that can be achieved in these circumstances, the compensation awarded in individual cases can vary significantly due to a range of factors, including effects on life expectancy, the severity of the negligence that took place, and the financial impact.

If you have been affected by similar events to those outlined here, we can help seek justice on your behalf.

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