Oakwood Solicitors

Oesophageal Cancer

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What is Oesophageal Cancer?

The oesophagus (also known as the food pipe or the gullet) is the tube in the throat that carries food into the stomach. Oesophageal cancer develops when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably and is categorised into two areas:

  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma – Tends to develop in the middle or upper part of the oesophagus and is the most common type of this cancer.
  • Adenocarcinoma – Tends to develop in the lower third of the oesophagus and is commonly known as Barrett’s Oesophagus.

Oesophageal Cancer



  • Oesophageal cancer affects men more than women and generally people over the age of 60.
  • Over 9,000 people a year are diagnosed as suffering from cancer of the oesophagus in the UK.
  • There is a 45% survival rate for people diagnosed with this type of cancer, when the cancer is localised to the Oesophagus.


Although there is no known cause of Oesophageal cancer, it is considered that the following may contribute:

  • Alcohol.
  • Smoking.
  • Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease.
  • Irritation of the Oesophagus.


There are generally no symptoms in the early stages of this form of cancer.  However, as the cancer develops and spreads through the Oesophagus, the following may be experienced:

  • Difficulty swallowing or passing food through the gullet.
  • Persistent cough.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.
  • Indigestion or heartburn.

Oesophageal Cancer



The first port of call, if you are suffering from symptoms or are worried, should be your GP. After an examination, if your GP considers that you require additional tests you will be referred onto the upper gastrointestinal department who will complete the following to arrive at a diagnosis:

  • Blood tests.
  • Endoscopy – camera down the throat.
  • Biopsy of samples taken from endoscopy.
  • Barium guided X-ray – the oesophagus is lined with a white fluid (Barium) and x-rays are taken which will reveal any blockage or abnormal cells.
  • CT Scan.
  • Ultra Sound.
  • PET Scan.
  • Laparoscopy.




Treatment for Oesophageal cancer varies depending upon the stage of the cancer. Treatment options generally include:

  • Surgery to remove the blockage or abnormal cells or to insert a stent or feeding tube.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiotherapy.

How Do I Make a Claim?

If you feel that your diagnosis has been delayed or that your treatment has been inappropriate, you may be entitled to bring about a claim. The team at Oakwood Solicitors will be able to give you free advice on the prospects of your case and whether you would be eligible to make a claim.

Who Can Bring About a Claim?

The victim of the negligence can bring about a claim in their own right. However, it is often sadly the case that the victim is either unable to bring about a claim or has sadly passed away.

In such circumstances, a claim can be brought about on their behalf either by an appropriate person or friend if the victim is still with us, or by the executor of the estate or surviving dependant if the victim is no longer with us

Our specialist team will be able to discuss whether you have a right to bring about a claim, so if you or a loved one has been affected do not hesitate to contact us.

How Long Do I Have to Claim?

Claims of this nature are subject to a three year limitation period. This means that claims have to be commenced within the Courts in three years of either the date the negligent act occurred, or the date you became aware that negligence had occurred. In cases involving deceased victims, this limitation period commences from the date of death and in cases involving minors, the limitation period starts when they reach their 18th birthday.

The law surrounding limitation periods is complex; our specialist team will be able to advise further.



How Long Will My Case Take to Run?

Given the complexities involved in pursuing Clinical Negligence claims, they can often take 18-24 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued.

Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records and protocols before approaching independent medical experts for their opinion.  We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.

How Much is My Claim Worth?

It is often difficult to value Clinical Negligence claims at their outset, given the complexities involved. However, we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

  • General damages – An award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.
  • Special damages – An award of money for all of your out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel, medication costs, loss of earnings, and treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case specific.

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 aim 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

Macmillan Cancer Support

Cancer Research UK


If you have been affected by misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of oesophageal cancer, or require any advice about legal proceedings – 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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Meet the Head of Department

Carol Cook

Head of Department - Medical Negligence

0113 200 9780

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