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Being told you have cancer is something no one wants to hear. Being told that you have a rare and aggressive form of cancer is even more devastating, especially when you’re in the prime of your life.

This has been the experience of an increasing number of medical negligence clients who have launched delayed diagnosis claims with Maurice Blackburn after learning they have triple-negative breast cancer.

These women have been aged in their 30s or 40s with young children, only to be advised that the cancer they have spreads up to three times faster than most other types of cancers. Equally as devastating is the fact that there are limited treatment options available to fight it.

Symptoms vary between patients but the most common sign is a lump in the breast or under the armpit, or a thickening of breast tissue.

Lauren’s story

Lauren Russo is one such client. Lauren was 37 when she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2017.

Lauren noticed a lump while breast-feeding her three-month-old daughter. Given a friend had been diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years earlier, Lauren went straight to see her doctor, but was told after having an ultrasound that it was just a blocked milk duct.

The lump got bigger and started going red so she went back to see the doctor four months later for it to be checked again. More tests were carried out and Lauren learned that she had two cancerous lumps in her breast and one in her lymph node. Routine scans revealed the worst: it had also spread to her bones.

Months of treatment followed, which Lauren openly documented on her blog and on Facebook. But the cancer continued to spread.

Image: Lauren Russo (Facebook)

Determined to live each day to its fullest, Lauren married her partner Josh and they bought a house where they could create happy memories for their two young daughters. She accessed her superannuation early so the family could go on holidays to Bali and Africa, then they expanded the family further by getting two golden retriever puppies.

Sadly, Lauren passed away at home on April 14, 2020. But not before raising much needed community awareness about this terrible cancer and the importance of seeking medical attention immediately if a lump is detected in your breast, no matter how small. She also encouraged those who found themselves in this situation to demand a biopsy be done at the earliest opportunity to determine whether it was serious.

Time limits apply to medical negligence claims

Medical negligence is a complex area of law that frequently involves technical questions about medicine and whether the treatment provided was appropriate. There are also strict time limits that apply to a person’s ability to bring a claim for compensation in medical negligence.

If your life has potentially been cut short as a result of unreasonable medical treatment or a delayed diagnosis, you should seek timely specialist legal advice to find out if you may be entitled to compensation.

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Our Canberra office is now closed, but our team continues to serve ACT clients and are available for phone and video appointments. If you need legal advice, please call us on 1800 675 346.

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