April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month with cancer charities promoting a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the disease.
The statistics show that every 15 minutes somebody is diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK. The message that Bowel Cancer UK really wants to get across is that it is treatable and curable if it is diagnosed early and nearly everyone survives if it is caught at its earliest stage.
We hear from these charities that COVID-19 has had a huge impact on bowel cancer services. These services were already stretched before the crisis, but the number of people referred, diagnosed and treated by these services has further decreased since before the pandemic.
It is thought that the effect of decreased services, referrals, diagnosis and treatment will have a devastating effect and it takes months or years for things to be back on track.
What will this mean for people with symptoms of the disease, or awaiting treatment?
The tabloid press suggests that there will be more people diagnosed with the disease at a more advanced stage or, sadly, more deaths from the disease which is something that can be avoided.
This firm is, certainly, seeing an increase in enquiries where cancer diagnosis and treatment has been delayed as a result of COVID 19 and it will be possible to consider claims against GP services and Hospital Trusts if those appointments and treatments, failures to refer were delayed unnecessarily.
There is a common thought that you are not at risk of bowel cancer if you are young. This is wrong.
Bowel cancer in younger people is increasing and, shockingly, we have heard from clients that the medical profession has dismissed their symptoms because of their age and in each case that we have dealt with, those clients have gone on to receive a diagnosis once they were, eventually, seen by a Specialist.
In these cases, we have successfully brought claims against the GP / Primary Health care providers for financial compensation on the basis that the disease could have been treated more effectively and less invasively and that the final outcome would have been curative.