Novum Law settled a claim on behalf of Mrs C after her rare form of breast cancer was misdiagnosed.

Mrs C initially went to her GP with a discharge from her left nipple. The GP found nothing abnormal on examination, her lymph nodes were not swollen, and she did not have any lumps. The GP noted that there was no family history of breast problems and thought that her nipple might be infected. He prescribed a course of antibiotics.

Mrs C returned to her GP because she was still suffering from a cracked, inflamed and bleeding left nipple, which had been intermittently infected and oozing for a year. Again, her GP could find no lump but referred her to the breast clinic at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, Wiltshire.

The hospital diagnosed Mrs C with a staphylococcal infection and prescribed antibiotics and a subsequent review. At her review appointment, Mrs C had a mammogram and an ultrasound of the left breast, which were reported as ‘normal’.

Unfortunately, Mrs C continued to have problems with her left breast. Although her symptoms fluctuated, she continued to suffer from irritation and itching of the nipple, and occasionally her nipple would weep and bleed. Having been reassured by the doctors that there was nothing to worry about; she did not return to her GP or seek another referral to the breast clinic, deciding to try and manage her symptoms at home.

Breast cancer misdiagnosis

Tragically, Mrs C was, in fact suffering from Paget’s disease, a rare type of cancer affecting the nipple and the skin surrounding it (areola). Possible signs and symptoms of Paget’s disease include flaky or crusty skin on the nipple, discharge, redness, itching, a tingling or burning sensation and a flattened (inverted) nipple. Sometimes a lump appears in the breast, or there is a thickening of the skin on the breast.

A few years’ later, Mrs C returned to the Great Western Hospital where she was finally diagnosed with Paget’s disease. Unfortunately, by this time, the disease had advanced to Grade 3 invasive ductal breast cancer and metastatic disease of the liver and bones.

Mrs C started six courses of chemotherapy, but unfortunately, her cancer had spread too much. Her condition rapidly deteriorated and very sadly, she died.

Medical negligence compensation

Novum Law’s specialist medical negligence solicitors brought a successful claim on behalf of Mrs C’s family on the basis that the hospital was negligent in failing to diagnose her Paget’s disease when she first went to the hospital. If she has received a correct diagnosis at this point, she would have successfully undergone treatment which would have removed the cancer and avoided the metastatic spread. Her life expectancy would then have been unaffected.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, delayed treatment, treatment errors or any other medical negligence, then please get in touch. Call Novum Law on Freephone 0800 884 0777, email: or complete the enquiry form on this page.

    *Mandatory field. We will only use data from this form to process your enquiry.