October 2015 is breast cancer awareness month, a worldwide annual campaign to highlight the importance of breast awareness, education and research and to raise funds for the various organisations that provide support for breast cancer research and breast cancer sufferers and their families.
Breast Cancer Care, a UK wide charity providing care, information and support to people affected by breast cancer, has recently produced the following statistics:
However Breast Cancer Care also highlights that more than eight out of 10 (85%) people survive breast cancer beyond five years.
Philippa Luscombe, partner in the Penningtons Manches clinical negligence team who specialises in cases involving a delay in diagnosis of cancer, comments: "Breast awareness, early diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential but there is more work to be done to ensure that the medical profession adequately protects those at risk. A high proportion of the breast cancer clinical negligence cases that we see involve a delay in diagnosis.
“We hope that breast cancer awareness campaigns with high profile events like ‘wear it pink’ and ‘no bra day’ will encourage patients with any concerns to be firm with their doctors about considering a breast cancer diagnosis and for the medical profession to be responsive to these concerns. There are many guidelines in place and there can be no excuse for GPs failing to know and adhere to them. From our experience, if the guidelines were applied consistently, more women would receive earlier diagnosis and, in some of those cases, that would make the difference between curable and non-curable disease."
Penningtons Manches has identified the following trends where patients with breast cancer have been let down by the medical profession in the diagnosis of their cancer: