Kidney cancer misdiagnosis: how can I successfully make a claim?

Author Image

Terry Regan

Director and Head of Medical and Clinical Negligence

Published - 09/08/2023

Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is one of the most common cancers in the UK, yet many people are diagnosed late. A recent study found that 45% of kidney cancer patients were first told their disease was something less serious. This statistic is partly due to a lack of awareness about the symptoms of kidney cancer. However, it can also be because some doctors fail to recognise signs of the disease in their patients, or they don't know how best to diagnose it.

In this guide, we will explain the main symptoms of kidney cancer, how it can be misdiagnosed and how you can make a misdiagnosis or delayed cancer diagnosis claim. We will also discuss what evidence you will need to gather, and how our medical negligence solicitors at Wake Smith can help.

What are the main symptoms of kidney cancer?

There are two main types of kidney cancer: renal cell carcinoma and urothelial carcinoma. Other types include sarcoma and transitional cell carcinoma. The symptoms of kidney cancer can be difficult to recognize and can easily be mistaken as symptoms of other conditions.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign of kidney cancer:

  • Blood in urine
  • Pain in one side of the lower back
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Anaemia (low red blood cell count)
  • A lump or mass in the lower back

What can kidney cancer often be misdiagnosed as?

Although kidney cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer, it can often be misdiagnosed. Several diseases and conditions share symptoms with kidney cancer, making it difficult for doctors to diagnose correctly.

Kidney cancer can often be misdiagnosed as one of the following:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney/bladder infection
  • Renal infarction
  • Kidney disease

There are many detrimental effects of misdiagnosis in kidney cancer. The spreading of cancer, the advancement in the stage of cancer, and the removal of the kidney are all things that can happen if you're not diagnosed with kidney cancer at an early stage. In some cases, even wrongful death can occur from misdiagnosed kidney cancer.

Kidney cancer misdiagnosis can have devastating effects. In a recent study, it was found that misdiagnosed patients were more likely to have advanced kidney cancer and had an increased rate of severe consequences, including death. The study found that over 48% of kidney cancer patients were diagnosed at the most life-threatening stages of cancer, stages 3 and 4, where a possible prognosis can be a lot worse.

If you have recently had your kidney cancer misdiagnosed as another condition, and you would like to find out how to make a successful medical negligence claim, please get in touch with our solicitors today.

How can kidney cancer be misdiagnosed?

There are many ways that kidney cancer can be misdiagnosed. One of the most common is when a doctor, such as a GP, fails to properly investigate your symptoms. The first thing to do if you think you may have symptoms of kidney cancer is to go to your doctor and discuss them. You should also tell them about any medical history that might be relevant. Many people with kidney cancer have other conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, which can make it more difficult for doctors to diagnose the disease early on.

A few other common reasons for misdiagnosis of kidney cancer are incorrect reading of tests, such as blood and biopsies, incorrect recording of results, and failure to be referred to a specialist. Refusal by a medical professional to refer you for further treatment can also be one of the reasons for kidney cancer misdiagnosis.

If your kidney cancer has been misdiagnosed due to medical negligence, and you would like to seek compensation, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Get in touch with our solicitors here to discuss your medical malpractice case.

How can I make a kidney cancer claim?

Claiming for kidney cancer is not a straightforward process and we would advise that you obtain support from a specialist clinical negligence solicitor. You need to look at any available evidence. For example, if there are any scans or tests which show the presence of kidney cancer, this should be included in the cancer misdiagnosis claim.

How Wake Smith can help

If you've been misdiagnosed with kidney cancer, you may be eligible to make a claim. Before you make any accusations of medical negligence, you should legal advice first to ensure you have enough evidence.

Wake Smith can help you pursue your claim for kidney cancer misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. We'll help you choose the most effective legal strategy for your clinical negligence case and take care of all the paperwork and administrative details to ease your worry. You can contact our team either through our contact form on our website or call us on 0114 266 6660.

Common queries

Does kidney cancer show up in bloodwork?

No, blood tests cannot show kidney cancer. They can show subtle signs of kidney cancer such as low red blood cell count. A doctor will look for these signs and if they are found to be present, then a CT scan and/or an ultrasound will be done to confirm the diagnosis.

How long does a medical negligence claim take?

The time it takes to make a medical negligence claim varies widely. However, the average time taken is 2-3 years. It is important to note that this period can be extended if you are dealing with any kind of legal action. The length of time will also depend on the complexity of your cancer misdiagnosis case and how many parties are involved. If you have been misdiagnosed with kidney cancer, it is important to speak to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

How accurate is a CT scan for kidney cancer?

CT scans are usually the only test needed. They can detect small tumours in their early stages. False negatives are rare, although they can happen if the scan is taken too early or when there are blood clots in your kidneys. In general, CT scans are very accurate when it comes to diagnosing kidney cancer.

Related content

Bowel cancer misdiagnosis: how you can make a successful claim

Lung cancer misdiagnosis: how can I make a claim?

Liver cancer misdiagnosis: how can I make a claim?

Contact Wake Smith Today!


About the author

Terry Regan

Director and Head of Medical and Clinical Negligence

Contact us