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Being told your child has cancer is every parent’s worst nightmare. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 15 in the UK and sadly, at least 10 children are diagnosed with cancer every day.

The good news is that major advances have been made and cancer survival rates are improving all the time. The overall survival rate for childhood cancers 50 years ago was 10%, it has now increased to nearly 90%. However, the survival rate for children with rare cancers is much lower.

Diagnosing childhood cancer

Childhood cancers can be difficult to diagnose. It can sometimes be hard to differentiate from the wide range of more common illnesses and conditions that children suffer from.

According to Cancer Research UK, the average GP will only ever see a single case in their entire career – if at all. Such infrequency of childhood cancer cases means that getting a prompt diagnosis can be challenging.

Parents with children who have cancer symptoms can sometimes feel their concerns are too easily dismissed, leading to delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

A study in The Lancet found that 50% of parents of children with cancer had some degree of dispute or disagreement with doctors at some point during diagnosis.

It is crucial that children with cancer are diagnosed quickly and accurately to ensure treatment can start as soon as possible.

As with adult cancers, the sooner a diagnosis is made, the better the chances of survival and the best possible chance of the child making a complete recovery.

Cancer diagnosis delays can result in cancer spreading and affect the treatment options available. It may mean any treatment needs to be more invasive and the chances of making a full recovery are reduced.

It is therefore vital that GPs are trained to recognise the tell-tale symptoms of childhood cancers and listen to parents’ instincts that something is seriously wrong with their child.

Awareness, education, and support is important when it comes to childhood cancers and therefore annual awareness-raising campaigns like September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is so key.

Contact our medical negligence solicitors

If your child’s cancer was misdiagnosed or you feel the diagnosis took too long and your child’s condition has worsened as a result, expert legal advice from Novum Law’s specialist medical negligence team is a phone call or email away.

Call us on Freephone 0800 884 0777, email info@novumlaw.com or fill out our online enquiry form for a free, no-obligation chat.