A cancer survivor calls for all women to carry out checks for any lumps following her legal win in wrongful breast cancer diagnosis case.

Michele Cullen from Amersham was diagnosed with cancer around seven months after she attended a routine mammogram appointment at a mobile unit provided by Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust in Chesham town centre.

She reached an undisclosed settlement with Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust following wrongful diagnosis after she was told by staff there was no cause for concern or need for further checks until three years later following a mammogram of an ill-defined mass lesion.

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Michele said: “Although I attended the routine mammogram, I also regularly checked my breasts as you can never be too careful.

"After the results came back clear I felt reassured, so I was shocked when I found a lump a few months later.

“Once I visited my GP and was referred to hospital everything seemed to happen so quickly. While it was a worrying time nothing prepares you for the news you have cancer. It was absolutely devastating, not only for me but I also worried for my children.

“I struggled to understand how I had stage three breast cancer when only a few months earlier my results had said I didn’t need to be seen for three years.

“This really concerned me, however, I had limited time to reflect and everything was about trying to get the treatment I needed."

She was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer which doctors found had spread to her lymph nodes.

Following her diagnosis, Michele, aged 58, instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust which runs the mobile unit and was responsible for analysing her mammogram.

While Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust denied liability, it acknowledged that following her diagnosis, an independent review of Michele’s mammogram by three radiologists was classed as ‘satisfactory with learning points’.

The category was for cancers that were identified in hindsight, the Trust said.

Eventually Michele’s legal team managed to secure her an undisclosed settlement in connection with her diagnosis.

The medical negligence expert at Irwin Mitchell representing Michele Dami Oloyede said: “Michele has faced an incredibly difficult few years coming to terms with her diagnosis and the physical and emotional impact it’s had on her and her family.

“Understandably she’s had a number of questions about the events that unfolded in the lead up to her diagnosis. While we’re pleased to have secured her the settlement, allowing Michele, to access the ongoing specialist support she requires, she would rather not be in this position.

“Through our work we sadly see the impact that breast cancer can have and how early detection and treatment are key to beating it.
“Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an incredibly important campaign which we join Michele in supporting.

"Michele hopes that by sharing her story she can help others be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer as well the need for people to regularly examine themselves, take part in the screening programme and seek medical advice if needed.”

Following rounds of radiotherapy, cancer drugs and chemotherapy during the Covid pandemic Michele is now cancer free, but her “anxiety levels remain high,” she said.

Michele added: “I’ve been told that I’m cured of my cancer but I now find it hard to accept such reassurances and worry about my prognosis.”

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust declined to comment due to patient confidentiality.