Bladder Cancer Claims - written by Gurdeep Singh, Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Bladder Cancer Claims - written by Gurdeep Singh, Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Bladder Cancer 

The bladder is located in your lower abdomen. It is a hollow organ that stores urine. 

Bladder cancer is when cells in the bladder begin to grow without control. It is a common type of cancer and most often begins in the urothelial cells that line the inside of your bladder, but there are other types of bladder cancer.

A lot of bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, when the cancer is highly treatable. However, even with early diagnosis and successful treatment it can recur. Therefore, it is important to attend follow-ups for years after successful treatment so that clinicians can look for any recurrence.

Causes Of Bladder Cancer

Causes/factors that may increase bladder cancer risk include. 

  • Smoking. The body processes the harmful chemicals in the smoke and excretes some of them in your urine.  The harmful chemicals can damage the lining of your bladder and increase the risk of cancer.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals.  Like smoking being around and breathing in certain chemicals found in dyes, rubber, leather, textiles and paint products can increase the risk of cancer. 
  • Age. Although bladder cancer can occur at any age, most people diagnosed with bladder cancer are older than 55. 
  • Males. Men are more likely to develop bladder cancer than women are. 
  • Family history of cancer. 

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Blood in your urine (haematuria) is the most common symptom of bladder cancer.  It is usually painless and it may appear as streaks of blood in urine or it may turn urine a brown colour.  However, the blood may not be noticeable, but be microscopic, and it may come and go.

Other less common symptoms can be: 

  • Sudden urges to urinate.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Painful urination.
  • Back pain.

When could there be a negligent delay in diagnosis of Bladder Cancer

In order for it to be negligence the Claimant must prove all of the following:-

  1. The Claimant was owed a duty of care by the clinician treating the Claimant.  In medical negligence claims this is easily established due to the existence of the clinician – patient relationship;
  2. Breach of Duty of Care: the treatment that the Claimant received was substandard i.e. unacceptable;  and
  3. Causation: as a result of the substandard treatment the Claimant suffered an injury.

There are different situations which may give rise to a delay in diagnosis of bladder cancer claim, but the most frequently occurring situation is when a GP mistakes symptoms of bladder cancer for a Urinary Tract infection (UTI).

Presentation of UTIs are extremely common in General Practice.  A GP will typically deal with several cases per week.  NICE Guidelines say a GP is likely to diagnoses approximately one person with bladder cancer every 3-5 years.  Symptoms of a UTI may include:

  • Haematuria.
  • Sudden urges to urinate.
  • Painful urination.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Increased need to urinate during the night.
  • Cloudy, dark or strong smelling urination.
  • Lower stomach pain or back pain or pain just under the ribs.
  • High temperature.
  • Feverish.
  • Temperature below 36 degrees.  

Given the above symptoms of UTI and bladder cancer can overlap, and bladder cancers can lead to UTI in themselves. 

NICE Guidelines set out referral as follows:-

‘Refer people using a suspected cancer pathway referral (for an appointment within 2 weeks) for bladder cancer if they are:

Aged 45 and over and have:

  • unexplained visible haematuria without urinary tract infection or
  • visible haematuria that persists or recurs after successful treatment of urinary tract infection, or

Aged 60 and over and have unexplained nonvisible haematuria and either dysuria or a raised white cell count on a blood test.

Consider non-urgent referral for bladder cancer in people aged 60 and over with recurrent or persistent unexplained urinary tract infection.’

Consequences of a delay in diagnosis of Bladder Cancer

A delay in diagnosis of bladder cancer in turn means a delay in treatment, this may allow the bladder cancer to spread to other parts of the body.  Cancer that has spread may affect your chances of a cure or living longer and therefore early diagnosis and treatment is imperative. 

We have acted for many clients, who have suffered a delay in diagnosis of bladder cancer due to clinical negligence resulting in poor prognosis.  If you believe that you have suffered a delay in diagnosis of bladder cancer, please contact us on 0161 873 2740 to discuss.


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