Rising rates and delays in diagnosis: Melanoma (skin cancer) Claims

Source: Lexology, July 2023

Skin cancers are rising rapidly and melanoma is now at the highest level in the UK since records began. A delay in diagnosis, or misdiagnosis, can have a devastating impact. Early diagnosis is essential. Here I look at some of the difficulties, when there may be a claim for medical negligence, as well as the roll out of promising new technologies.

Causes and symptoms
Melanoma has been called ‘the most serious skin cancer’ because of its tendency to spread. It is usually caused by ultraviolet light (from the sun or sun beds). According to Cancer Research UK, melanoma is the fifth most common in Britain, with 86 percent of cases being preventable.

Melanoma develops when there is a mutation within cells called melanocytes which allows the cell to grow and divide more quickly than normal. Without diagnosis and treatment melanoma will grow and spread through the layers of the skin, eventually coming into contact with lymph and blood vessels. Thereafter it can spread throughout the body most commonly to the liver, lungs, bones or brain.