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Living with cervical cancer is difficult enough, but discovering that you have been a victim of cervical cancer misdiagnosis can be distressing, as there could be life-changing and possibly fatal consequences.
What is Cervical Cancer Misdiagnosis?
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer mainly caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV in the woman’s cervix causes the abnormal growth of cancerous cells that can spread to other parts of the body. HPV is usually transmitted through sexual contact; however, while most women are able to fight off HPV infection, few suffer cervical cancer as a result.
In many developed nations like the UK, regular screening is done to help in the prevention of cervical cancer. The Pap test is designed to detect abnormalities in the cervix to ensure women who have any problems can receive early treatment. Early detection enhances the chances of complete treatment and relief. If you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of inaccurate tests or misinterpretation of test results, you may be entitled to a claim for misdiagnosis of cervical cancer.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
During its early stages, there are usually no symptoms of cervical cancer. This is the primary reason why women are encouraged to do HPV and Pap smear tests regularly. These tests can ensure early detection of cervical cancer before the condition progresses to a more severe level.
Over time, a woman may notice some of the following symptoms:
- Longer and heavier menstrual bleeding;
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding – particularly after intercourse or a pelvic examination;
- Pain during sexual intercourse;
- Bleeding after menopause;
- Increased urination;
- Pain during urination.
Keep in mind that the symptoms above are not strictly cervical cancer related. They can also manifest with other health conditions; as a result, it is important that you consult your health professional immediately you notice any of the symptoms.
How is Cervical Cancer Diagnosed?
Smear test is a common cervical screening method used to detect the presence of abnormal cell activity which could develop into cervical cancer. If your doctor detects abnormal cell activity, then he/she will refer you to a gynaecologist for further diagnostic tests to determine if the cells are cancerous.
These tests may include:
- Colposcopy – Works like a magnifying glass; used to look at the cervix
- Biopsy – Taking tissue samples from the cervix for testing
- Cone Biopsy – Taking out a cone-shaped sample to get deeper layers of tissue from the cervix
- Endocervical Scraping – Removing tissue samples lining the endocervical canal.
If a medical practitioner fails to refer you for diagnostic testing after learning about your symptoms or misinterprets test results, treatment may be delayed, and this could have fatal consequences.
How Does Cervical Cancer Misdiagnosis Occur?
When cervical cancer is diagnosed early, the chances of survival are high. However, if diagnosis is delayed or a doctor incorrectly interprets test results, this can make treatment more difficult. Misdiagnosis of cervical cancer can happen when:
- Failing to refer a patient for a smear test or further cervical cancer testing;
- Failing to notice abnormal cell activity during examination;
- Failing to correctly interpret test results;
- Diagnosing a different condition.
Late, delayed or missed cervical cancer diagnosis can have severe consequences on a patient. The patient will usually require more invasive treatment, including:
This high-powered treatment procedure is done to kill malignant cells. Radiation may be used on its own or alongside chemotherapy to reduce the cancerous tumour before surgery is done to remove it. Radiation can be done by using internal or external therapy, or internal as well as external therapy. Radiation therapy can lead to early menopause; women who wish to get pregnant should consult a doctor so their eggs can be preserved.
This involves the injection of low medication doses to target and kill malignant cells. If the abnormal cell growth continues, chemotherapy is administered in higher doses to control the growth.
Even when the progress of the cancerous cells is controlled and the cells are killed, it is important that you continue follow-up examinations with your doctor.
Am I Entitled to a Cervical Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim?
If you have suffered delayed incorrect treatment as a result of misdiagnosis of cervical cancer, you may be entitled to a claim for compensation. It is always best to seek the legal support of specialist cervical cancer misdiagnosis solicitors who can advise you on your rights should you consider making a claim.
Generally, you will be entitled to a compensation claim if your medical professional:
- Failed to conduct sufficient initial investigation;
- Failed to refer you for tests;
- Incorrectly diagnosed your condition after observing your symptoms;
- Incorrectly performed your biopsy;
- Misinterpreted your test results.
Every patient is entitled to a high standard of medical care. By contacting our specialist solicitors today, we can act quickly on your behalf to help you secure the compensation and care which can set you on the path to recovery.
Can I Make a Claim on Behalf of Someone Who Has Died Due to Misdiagnosis of Cervical Cancer?
If you have lost a loved one as a result of cervical cancer misdiagnosis, our solicitors can provide the legal representation you need to get justice for your loved one. We can also help secure compensation for the pain, suffering and financial losses caused by the death of your loved one as well as the cost of funeral.
How Much Compensation Can I Claim for Cervical Cancer Misdiagnosis?
It is not possible to determine the exact compensation amount you can claim for cervical cancer misdiagnosis. Your compensation award will be calculated based on your individual circumstances; usually, you will be able to make claims for general and special damages.
- General damages
This is compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity incurred as a result of the misdiagnosis. It covers the physical and psychological injuries suffered by a victim.
- Special damages
This is compensation for present and future financial losses incurred as a result of the cervical cancer misdiagnosis. Examples of special damages include care costs, cost of home/vehicle modifications, loss of earnings, and cost of medical care and rehabilitation.
Time Limits for Making a Cervical Cancer Negligence Claim
There is a statutory three-year time limit for most medical negligence claims. However, due to the nature of a misdiagnosis, it is possible that the impact of the misdiagnosis will not become obvious until some time after the negligent treatment. As a result, the three-year time limit to start a claim may begin from the ‘date of knowledge’ – that is, the date you became aware that your condition has been misdiagnosed.
Either way, it is best that you seek expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
No Win No Fee Cervical Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims
The vast majority of our medical negligence cases are funded via a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that you do not incur any financial risk when pursuing a claim for compensation.
At the start of your case, our solicitors will discuss the funding options available to you, and advise you on which we believe will best suit your case. If we think it is best funded by a No Win No Fee agreement, we will explain the process to you in clear English. This agreement makes it possible for anyone who has suffered negligent treatment to make a claim no matter their financial capacity. If your case is unsuccessful, you will not pay us anything. If you win, a success fee will be deducted from your final compensation award.
Why Choose Medical Negligence Direct?
Like any other medical negligence claim, cervical cancer misdiagnosis claims can be complex. It is important that you choose an experienced solicitor with a proven track record to enhance your chance of success. Our cancer misdiagnosis solicitors have earned their reputation as professionals who employ a sensitive and efficient approach when dealing with medical negligence victims.