‘I was diagnosed with stage four cancer - two years after complaining of symptoms to my GP’

Richard made his first GP visited in March 2021
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A dad-of-two has asked for lawyers to investigate after being diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer two years after first visiting his GP in Bristol complaining of symptoms.

Forty-one-year-old Richard Scott visited a GP concerned about blood in his poo and severe tiredness in March 2021. However, no referral for further investigation was made. Over the next year Richard, of Little Stoke, who has two young daughters aged 10 and six with wife Anny, consulted his GP twice more with concerns.

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During his third GP visit in May 2022, a referral to a gastroenterology team was made. Following further tests in August 2022, he was diagnosed with bowel cancer which had spread to his liver.

Following his diagnosis, Richard, who is head of fundraising volunteering for a leading charity, instructed medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his care. He has also called for more awareness around the symptoms of bowel cancer and the importance of early diagnosis and his own experience.

He said: “As the months went on my symptoms persisted, I trusted my GP’s advice and because they didn’t seem worried about my symptoms, I was reassured. Anny was worried and felt I wasn’t being listened to.

“The last few months following my diagnosis have been a real mix of emotions. My treatment, particularly while trying to come to terms with my diagnosis and how the cancer was very advanced has been difficult, not just physically but also emotionally and financially. We used to do everything as a family, go on holidays, trips, days out but that’s all on hold at the minute because of my illness.”

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Richard initially visited his GP in March 2021. Tests were undertaken to check for inflammatory bowel disease, the results of which initially identified high levels of calprotectin, which returned to normal on further testing. No other investigations were carried out.

He returned to the doctors in April 2022 with the same symptoms as well as aches, pains and more frequent visits to the toilet. Tests showed high levels of calprotectin again. A diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease was considered and a referral to gastroenterology was made. This was not an urgent two-week referral for suspected cancer.

Richard Scott has enlisted medical negligence lawyers after his GP didn’t notice signs of his bowel cancer.Richard Scott has enlisted medical negligence lawyers after his GP didn’t notice signs of his bowel cancer.
Richard Scott has enlisted medical negligence lawyers after his GP didn’t notice signs of his bowel cancer.

Following tests, Richard was diagnosed with bowel cancer last August. He has undergone six months of chemotherapy and recently had surgery to remove a tumour from his liver. He is recovering at home and awaiting advice on the next steps in his treatment, which he expects to involve further surgery which will leave him with a stoma.

“I’ve tried to remain as positive as I can, not only for myself and my recovery but for Anny and the children. However, it’s hard especially as I’m now reliant on Anny and she’s had to drop hours at work to help look after me. I face an uncertain future but am determined to give everything I can to fight this disease and spend as much time as possible with my family.

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“I can’t change what’s happened to me but as well as wanting answers I hope that my story can potentially help others by them being aware of the signs of cancer and accessing care as soon as they can. People mustn’t think they have to go through a cancer diagnosis alone as help and support is available.”

Rebecca Brown, an expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who is representing Richard, said: “Richard’s diagnosis has come as a devastating blow to him and his family. They’re all struggling to come to terms with the news and what it may mean for their future.

“Understandably Richard has a number of concerns about his care, including whether more could have been done to diagnose his cancer sooner, and if so, the impact this has had on the level of treatment he has had and what the overall outcome from treatment will be.

“While nothing can make up for what he and his loved ones are going through, we’re determined to support them and provide Richard with the answers he deserves.

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“Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is incredibly important in not only raising awareness of the signs of the disease but the importance of seeking medical advice as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment are key to beating cancer.”

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