This led to the death of 2 patients; serious harm to 25 and unnecessary suffering to 177 patients. The NPSA's "Delayed diagnosis of cancer: thematic review" says that the number of cases misdiagnosed are just the tip of the iceberg.
It cites the example of one woman whose breast lump was diagnosed as mastitis despite repeated visits to the GP. "When she was finally diagnosed, she had advanced breast cancer with extensive spread," the report added.
The report follows on the heels of the six-figure payout from the NHS to the family of Lavinia Bletchly, who died from bowel cancer. Doctors repeatedly told her that the illness was in her head. When she was finally diagnosed with bowel cancer, chemotherapy could not save her.