Copyright (c) 2011 Julie Glynn
When a bladder cancer patient is found to be free of the disease, their treatment will continue in the form of follow-up tests. These are a vital element of cancer care, as it ensures any local recurrence is identified in the early stages.
Why Are Follow-Up Tests Needed?
No matter what type of cancer you have suffered from, there is always the risk that it will return. However, this risk is particularly high with bladder cancer, which has a recurrence rate of 50% to 80%. Therefore it of the utmost importance that a patient who has successfully fought bladder cancer is closely monitored, as this will help detect any cancer recurrence in the early stages. Medical professionals should also consider that the recurrent cancer be located in the same position, or may develop elsewhere in the urinary tract.
The type of follow-up tests you receive will depend upon your individual set of circumstances. Your cancer care team will devise a plan that is suitable to you and your illness. Generally speaking, however, if you have had early bladder cancer, you will probably have regular cystoscopies and urine tests to ensure the cancer has not returned. Usually, this will be performed three months after treatment, and then six months thereafter until you are discharged by your specialist.
On the other hand, if you have had invasive and/or advanced bladder cancer, regular cystoscopies and urethroscopies (if you are a man) will be accompanied by frequently performed CT scans.
What If These Follow-Ups Tests Are Not Performed?
Follow-up tests after the successful treatment of bladder cancer will help to ensure the early detection of local recurrence. This could mean metastases are delayed or even prevented all together.
However, if there is a failure to perform regular follow-up tests, then the standard of care provided can be said to have fallen below an acceptable standard. If there is a breach of duty of this nature and bladder cancer is subsequently found to have recurred, then the patient face all the risks associated with a delay in diagnosis.
Making a Medical Negligence Claim.
If medical professionals have failed to provide you with the appropriate level of care after bladder cancer, and the cancer does recur, you may have been the victim of medical negligence. If so, you will be able to make a medical negligence claim. This will allow you to claim compensation for the damages you have incurred – these may be physical, psychological, and financial.
To find out more, you need to speak to a medical negligence solicitor. Medical negligence claims are often restricted by certain time limits, so do not delay in seeking legal advice.