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Lung Cancer

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What is Lung Cancer?

Lung carcinoma, or lung cancer, starts either in the trachea, bronchus or the actual lung itself. The cells in the lung start to grow out of control which then forms into a tumour that is malignant.

Lung Cancer


It is vital that this type of cancer is determined as soon as possible so the relevant treatment is given to limit the spread.

  • 20% of deaths related to cancer are due to lung cancer.
  • It is the leading cause of death in men and the second amongst women.
  • 50,000 people are diagnosed annually.
  • Most patients are over the age of 70.

44,500 new cases of lung cancer.35,895 deaths from lung cancer20% of cancer deaths are lung cancer89% of lung cancer preventable with earlier disagnosis


What are the symptoms?

The major issue with lung cancer is that it is often diagnosed when it has spread to other organs. Due to this, only a third of patients will live a year after they have been diagnosed, and 5% will live ten years.

The lymphatic system transports lymph around the body as part of the immune system. Cancerous cells can detach from the main tumour and then be transported around the lymphatic system, which can go to the other organs.

Lung cancer can sometimes take a long time to produce physical and noticeable symptoms. It can, therefore, go unrecognised for years and at that point there may be no recovery from it. Any symptoms need to be treated seriously and acted on.

The main symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite with associated weight loss
  • Chest infections that reoccur
  • Cough that is persistent
  • Change in cough – painful, mucus or blood
  • Shortness of breath



It is important that a medical professional knows that a cough is persistent and not just a common cold or chest infection.


The main cause of lung cancer is smoking, but this is not the only reason or cause. The longer a smoking habit, the risk of lung cancer increases. If a smoker stops smoking, the risk does lower – i.e. after ten years of quitting smoking, the likelihood of lung cancer halves.

Tobacco contains a large number of carcinogens, which can be ingested by:

  • Smoking cigars
  • Pipe tobacco
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Cannabis
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Snuff

Passive smoking is when you are exposed to other peoples’ cigarette smoke, which then causes lung cancer. This chance will increase if you live with a smoker.

If you have a family member that has had lung cancer then the risk will increase.

The major risks of lung cancer are:

  • Car fumes and diesel
  • Radon Gas – 3% of cases are from radon gas, which can be found in homes and buildings.
  • Smoking
  • Workplace Exposure – Some industries can cause lung cancer, such as arsenic, asbestos, cadmium, nickel, coke fumes, silica and beryllium. See our Occupational Lung Cancer page for further information.


If your GP believes that you show symptoms of lung cancer, you will be referred to the hospital and a specialist.

There are a variety of tests that can be used to diagnose lung cancer:

  • Chest X-ray – This is the easiest test to start with. A lung tumour will show as a white-grey mass. Further tests would be needed to clarify that it was actually lung cancer.
  • CT scan – These are more detailed. You would be injected with a contract medium so that the lungs are clearer under the scan.
  • PET-CT scan – You would be injected with a radioactive material that would show up any cancerous cells.
  • Bronchoscopy and Biopsy – A medical professional would remove a biopsy from the inside of the lung and it would then be tested.

The tests can also be used together to work out the stage of the cancer so the appropriate treatment can be started.

Lung Cancer


Variations of Lung Cancer

  • Primary lung cancer starts in the lung.
  • Secondary lung cancer is where the cancer has spread outside of the lung area. It is also known as metastasis.

Primary lung cancer is the more common out of the two types. It can then be split into two. This distinction is based on the type of cells that the cancer first began to develop from:

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – Most common lung cancer and takes into account 80% of the cases. There are three main kinds and they all react differently to different treatments

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Squamous cell cancer
  • Large cell carcinoma

Small-cell lung cancer – 20% of cases, is more aggressive and spreads quicker. It is solely related to smokers.


Treatment will depend on the location of the cancer, the health of the patient, where the cancer is located, the type of cancer and the stage of the cancer.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer – If the lung cancer is just in one lung, the affected portion of the lung would be removed. It will then be followed by chemotherapy to make sure that all the cells are cleared. If the cancer has spread further into the lung, chemotherapy only may be used.

Small-Cell Lung Cancer – surgery is not an option and therefore has to be treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

There are three types of surgery:-

  • Lobectomy – Removes one of the lung segments, called lobes, if in just one area.
  • Pneumonectomy – Removal of an entire lung.
  • Wedge resection or segmentectomy – Removal of a small part of the lung if the cancer is localised and small.



Side Effects

Side effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery can include:

  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Inflammation of the lung
  • Infection of the lung
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Blood clots in the lung leading to a pulmonary embolism

How Do I Make a Claim?

If you consider that there was a delay in implementing treatment, you may be eligible to bring about a claim for compensation. Our specialist team is on hand to discuss your treatment with you and advise further as to what your choices are.

We will be able to give you free advice on the prospects of your case and whether you would be eligible to make a claim. You have three years from the misdiagnosis to pursue a case so do not delay.

How Long Will My Case Take to Run?

Clinical Negligence cases can take over eighteen months to run, as we have to obtain copies of your GP and medical records before getting a report from an independent medical professional. We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case, ensuring that you are kept up to speed.





How Much is My Claim Worth?

Claims involving misdiagnosis, delay of diagnosis or delay in providing treatment for lung case vary widely from a few thousand pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds. Every claim is very specific and compensation is awarded for the amount of pain and suffering endured and the extent of out of pocket expenses required.

There are two forms of compensation that Oakwood Solicitors will pursue on your behalf:

General Damages – This is a claim for compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured, and that you are likely to endure moving forward. There will, if appropriate, be a claim for compensation for any psychological effects the negligence has had upon you.

Special Damages – This is a claim for all out-of-pocket expenses that you have suffered as a result of the negligence. This may include such things as:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Cost of medication and treatments (both past and in the future)
  • Cost of aids or adaptations to the home
  • Childcare costs
  • Care costs for yourself, and much more.

This list is not exhaustive and is very case specific.

Who Can Bring About a Claim?

It is often the case that when a diagnosis is made, it is too late for life-saving treatment to be implemented.

Of course, the victim of the negligence can bring about a claim. However – and this is so often the case – the victim of the negligence has passed. If this is the case, the executor of the estate and/or surviving dependents will be able to bring about a claim on behalf of their deceased loved one.

Our specialist team will be able to advise further in this regard, so please do not hesitate to contact us.

Why Use Oakwood Solicitors to Make Your Clinical Negligence Case?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of Clinical Negligence.

We want to ensure that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms that they don’t understand, and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.

How is My Case Funded?

The majority of Clinical Negligence cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay up front and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost. If you are successful in your claim, a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained, the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

Charities/Useful Websites

British Lung Foundation

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation


If you have suffered as the result of misdiagnosis, delay or failure to diagnose a condition such as lung cancer, get in touch today for a free initial consultation. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.


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Carol Cook

Head of Department - Medical Negligence

0113 200 9780

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