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Hi all,

In 2016 both my sisters and cousin had breast cancer.  We learned we are BRCA1 mutant gene.  I saw a geneticist and she wrote to my local hospital for preventative surgery.  I contacted her again 6 months later as i'd heard nothing. 


In May last year I received an appointment to see the gynaecologist and she did a scan which didn't reveal anything.  I still haven't heard from the breast surgeon.  They like to work together apparently (cost effectiveness, I assume). 


I now have ovarian cancer which doesn't have a good prognosis.  Can I sue the NHS for medical negligence (assuming I will live long enough)?  They have had two years in which to do this.  Obviously i'm upset to say the least.  




ps.  the video link to how to create a post doesn't seem to work.


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I’m sorry you’ve found yourself in what must be a very difficult situation. 


In some respects it could be worth asking how a delay in seeing a breast surgeon may have contributed to your ovarian cancer. Having had a clear scan two years ago it’s possible that the ovarian cancer may have developed since then, unless the breast surgeon was scheduled to re-scan your abdomen as well as your chest I’m not sure how it could be seen as negligence. Of course I’m not a doctor and I may be missing something that I don’t understand. In any case, I’d suggest speaking with a lawyer who specialises in medical negligence to at least run it by them. I hope if nothing else, that you get the answers you need and wish you well with your treatment. 

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as above unless you can prove you had breast cancer and its spread .....there is no link to ovarian cancer no.


CAT scan, MRI scan or PET scans are the only ones that would show that.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It sounds as though you want to sue the NHS for not having breast cancer. You had scans for ovarian and fallopian tube cancer and nothing seen so that suggests  there was nothing to see  and that you have just suffered ill fortune due statistics or due to to inheritance of bad genes, neither of which have anything to do with a lack of pre-emptory surgery.

Now there is an increased risk of ovarian cancer among people with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutant genes so it looks as though you have just got things weighted against you and that doesnt suggest malpractice by the breast specialist so employing an ambulance chaser and wasting  energy on this wont be the best thing you can do with your time. Your genetic predisposition will certainly lose your claim for you.

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Sorry to hear of your cancer diagnosis. Whilst it may seem unemotional, I'm going to focus on the legal picture surrounding the events.


I'm not sure I fully agree with EB.

While some of the BRCA genes are associated only with increased risk of breast cancer, the most common (BRCA1 and 2) do increase the risk of ovarian cancer, and if they should know this puts an extra onus on the doctors.


For there to be negligence (including clinical negligence), a number of steps must exist:

a) The negligent party must owe a duty of care

b) there must be a breach of that duty of care,

c) harm must result, and

d) there mustn't be an intervening act that was the cause of the harm rather than the harm being from the breach of duty of care.


a) you may need to get advice on which clinician (it may be both!) was responsible for managing the ovarian cancer risk side of your BRCA gene (if your gene increase your risk of ovarian cancer: if it is one that doesn't then there will likely not be a breach of duty of care)

b) Did whichever doctor was responsible for following up any increased risk of ovarian cancer do all that they should? Was the initial scan correctly reported? Should there have been a repeat scan / imaging at any stage if there was an increased risk?

c)  This follows on from b),

c) i ) if you would have developed your ovarian cancer anyway (AND it wouldn't have been diagnosed earlier, Or even if it had been diagnosed earlier your prognosis wasn't altered by the lack of earlier diagnosis) : no additional harm beyond what would have happened anyway if things had gone with ideal follow-up, so no harm RESULTING from the breach of care

c) ii) should you have been offered preventative surgery either breast, (although the breast surgeon may say: not breast cancer, no harm from lack of breast surgery) , AND/OR ovarian removal (was that offered? that may also be influenced by how old you are / if you are post-menopausal).


I think these are reasonable questions for you to be asking (or have someone ask) the clinicians. Given that you have said this was BRCA1 gene, and the geneticist advised a referral for surgery: I would certainly be asking for an explanation: if everything went as it should you need to know that, as much as you need to know if things didn't go as they should.

Edited by BazzaS
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