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Prostate Cancer

Home » Personal Services » Medical Negligence » Cancer Claims » Prostate Cancer

What is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate gland is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It sits just below the bladder, surrounding the urethra (the tube that connects the bladder to an external opening, allowing urination and ejaculation).

In young men, the prostate gland is around the size of a 10 pence but as men grow older it increases in size. This can then lead to urinary issues. Normally the prostate gland’s function is to produce a white fluid that carries sperm and makes up most of the semen. It also prevents the semen from travelling towards the bladder and pushes them forward, essentially aiding fertilisation.

Prostate Cancer

 

The most common cause of cancer in men is prostate cancer. Over 47,000 men are diagnosed each year, with 129 new cases each day.

It is estimated that one in eight men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. It is therefore extremely common and it is very important that men are screened regularly and often. Early detection will help with the survival rate and quick treatment. It can vary between different men and may grow slowly and not cause any issues or an effect on daily life, or it can be very rapid-growing and possibly spread to other organs of the body.

What are the symptoms?

Most men will not get any symptoms until the prostate has grown to a particular size, hence why some forms of the cancer can go unnoticed for many years. The symptoms usually involved issues with urination such as:

  • Limited flow
  • Straining
  • Increased urination
  • Urinating at night
  • Lack of control to start urinating
  • Pressure that the bladder is still full
  • It can also lead to other issues such as
  • Loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss
  • Pain in the testicles
  • Lack of energy
  • Back pain

Cause

The cause of prostate cancer is not understood. Due to the fact that prostate cancer can spread to other organs, it is important to diagnose it when it is still localised in the prostate itself.

It does have the propensity to spread via the venous network and then pass to the lymphatic system and then to the lymph nodes. When it spreads to the bones, lungs, liver and the brain, this is called advanced prostate cancer.

There are a number of factors which can increase the risk to men:

  • Age – it is rare in men under the age of 40 but the number of cases increases in men over 50.
  • Ethnicity – African-Caribbean and African men tend to be more prone. Men of Asian origin are less likely to develop prostate cancer
  • Genetics – prostate cancer can be hereditary and the risk of obtaining it will increase if fathers or brothers have had the disease
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle – men who are not as active are more likely to get prostate cancer
  • Diet – red meat, diary, lack of fibre from fruit and vegetables or diets rich in calcium.

Controlling any of the above will certainly help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, such as eating healthy foods, exercising, keeping weight under control and being aware if you are in a high-risk group.

Finasteride can be taken to prevent the risk of cancer by a third. There are other drugs called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors that can be used to treat the natural growth of the prostate.

Diagnosis

There are a variety of different ways to diagnose prostate cancer:

  • Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)

This is the most common test. A doctor would insert a gloved finger up through the anus into the rectum. He would be searching for a smooth and firm prostate as adverse to a hard and bumpy prostate which could indicate cancer. This is not a definitive test but a good initial indicator. Further investigation would then be needed.

  • PSA Testing

PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland. It can always be found in the blood but levels will raise if there is an issue with the size of the prostate gland and if cancerous cells have been formed.

This test measures the level of PSA in the blood. There is a limitation on this, however, as in an enlarged non-cancerous prostate the levels of PSA can rise.
Other tests need to be carried out to make a definitive diagnosis.

  • Biopsy

A small sample of body tissue is removed and then examined under a microscope to check for abnormal cells. The sample is carried out via a trans rectal ultrasound. The probe is placed into the rectum and a needle is passed through the wall of the rectum to obtain samples.
It is an unpleasant procedure but is the most accurate procedure. Again it could be that there is human error and the biopsy needle could always miss the location of the cancer.

  • MRI scan

If there are concerns that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body than an MRI scan could be used. This can then detect any other changes in the body.

  • Isotope bone scan

This would confirm whether the cancer has spread to the bone. Dye is injection into the vein and pools where any changes are present.

Stages of prostate cancer

Using the above tests, doctors are able to identify what stage prostate cancer is at and then advice on the correct treatment methods:

  • Stage 1 – small cancer located only in the prostate gland
  • Stage 2 – large cancer located only in the prostate gland
  • Stage 3 – the cancer has spread away from the prostate gland but is still localised
  • Stage 4 – the cancer has spread to further areas such as the lymph nodes, bladder, rectum or bones

65-90% of men are diagnosed in Stage 1-2 and will live 10 years or more. 20-30% are diagnosed in Stage 4

Treatment

There are a number of treatments available for prostate cancer which will depend on the patient, the location of the cancer, how far progressed it is and how aggressive it is. The treatments include:

  • Surgery – the whole prostate can be removed if the cancer is located only there
  • External Beam radiotherapy – high energy X-ray beams are directed at the prostate. They damage the cells and prevent them from growing
  • Active Surveillance – if a prostate is slow growing then it may be better to watch to see how it changes rather than providing unnecessary treatment with side effects
  • Brachytherapy – this involved placing an implanted source of radiation into the prostate which will then destroy the cells from inside
  • Hormone therapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Drug treatment
  • High-intensity focused ultrasound

Consultation

 

Screening for prostate cancer

At present, the screening tests are not accurate enough and often doctors misdiagnose whether a patient has or has not got cancer. They also are not able to decipher between the different probable causes. It can cause a lot of stress for men who may end up having treatment when it is not necessary.

How do I make a claim?

As above, prostate cancer can often be misdiagnosed or patients are provided with treatment when they do not need it. You, therefore, could be eligible to make a claim.

There are three groups of compensation that you could fit into if you fit the following:

  • Incorrect diagnosis – people being diagnosed with cancer that will never cause symptoms or death during their life time however they receive the treatment which was avoidable.
  • Incorrect treatment – people being treated unnecessarily for tumours that would be unlikely to cause any harm
  • Delay in diagnosis – this can cause the most serious of harm and deprive the patient of early intervention and potential lifesaving treatment.

Immediate diagnosis and treatment of Prostate cancer is paramount to the success of the treatment. Early intervention can result in complete resolution of symptoms; however delays can be devastating.

Our specialist team are on hand to discuss your treatment with you and advice further as to what your choices are. 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.

You have three years to pursue a case, so do not delay action.

Who can make a claim?

It goes without saying that the affected person may be able to bring about a claim, however there are circumstances where the delay in diagnosis or the incorrect treatment has resulted in the death of the sufferer. In such cases the estate and possibly dependants may be able to make a claim.

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:

  • Firstly – we will pursue compensation known as general damages. This is an award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.
  • Secondly – we will pursue compensation known as special damages. This is an award of money for all of your out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case specific.

Courtroom

 

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 website links:

Orchid

Prostate Cancer UK

Prostate Cancer Research

Tackle Prostate

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Meet the Head of Department

Carol Cook

Head of Department - Medical Negligence

0113 200 9780

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