Cervical Cancer Misdiagnosis
& Cervical Cancer
If you have been misdiagnosed with cervical cancer, you will be coming to terms with the impact that this will have on your health, and what it means for your treatment and prognosis. Over 3000 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and yet an incredible 99.8% of cases are preventable, according to Cancer Research UK. This is particularly upsetting if you know that your case could have been avoided or treated earlier - especially if this has meant that your condition has progressed as a result.
If you have suffered a delay in your diagnosis being made or have been misdiagnosed as a result of medical negligence, then you may be entitled to claim compensation.
The medical negligence claims specialists at Sheldon Davidson Solicitors have been helping victims of medical misdiagnosis for over 20 years. They will listen to the details of your case and will quickly identity if you have grounds for a claim – helping you to claim the compensation that you deserve.
Can I make a cervical cancer misdiagnosis claim?
If you have been failed by a medical professional during the diagnosis or treatment of your cancer, then you may be able to make a claim. This could mean that your initial symptoms were missed, or that your treatment has been inadequate or incorrect due to negligence. There are numerous examples of misdiagnosis that are grounds for making a claim:
- Were your initial symptoms attributed to another condition, such as the menopause, or heavy periods?
- Was your cervical screening test misread, or not correctly followed up?
- Did your GP fail to refer you for further testing despite your symptoms suggesting that cervical cancer was a possibility?
- Did you have surgery that failed to adequately remove all of the cancerous cells, meaning that your cancer returned, or continued to spread?
- Were you given disproportionate treatment for your cancer, such as a hysterectomy, when other less drastic options were available?
- Were you wrongly diagnosed with cervical cancer and treated a condition that you didn’t actually have?
If you feel that the level of medical care or treatment you received fell below the expected standard at any stage during your diagnosis and treatment for cervical cancer, it is important that you seek the help of experienced medical negligence experts. SDS can guide you through the process, giving you exemplary legal advice at every stage.
Can I claim on behalf of a relative?
If you have been bereaved as a result of a cervical cancer misdiagnosis, it is possible for a close family member to bring a claim for compensation. How we proceed will depend on a number of factors, including whether or not the deceased had made a will – speak to us for guidance if you are considering bringing a claim on someone else’s behalf.
What am I entitled to?
If, having examined all the information relating to your case, we think that you have good grounds to make a claim, we will make an assessment and determine what to include. If your misdiagnosis has led to your condition deteriorating, or your health has been damaged unnecessarily by wrong or inadequate treatment, we will factor this into the amount of compensation that you can claim for. You may also be able to claim for loss of income and any other out of pocket expenses incurred as a direct result of your misdiagnosis. Your solicitor will be able to give you an estimate based on your situation and the impact on you, financial, physical and emotional, that your misdiagnosis has caused.
Are there time limits for making a misdiagnosis claim?
In most medical negligence cases, you need to make a claim within three years of your misdiagnosis. Because of the nature of misdiagnosis claims however, it is often the case that the misdiagnosis will not become apparent until sometime after it occurs. Because of this, the 3-year time limitation to make a claim starts from the 'date of knowledge', or when you first became aware that you had been misdiagnosed. Either way it is recommended that you seek expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer occurs when cells lining the cervix (the entrance to the womb) become abnormal and left untreated develop into cancer. It is almost always caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) and tends to be passed on through sexual contact. It mainly affects sexually active women between the ages of 30 and 45.
Initially, cervical cancer can be almost symptomless, which is why regular screening is routinely offered to women between the ages of 25 to 64. Screening is a vital tool in preventing cervical cancer, by identifying any abnormal cells and treating them before they have chance to become cervical cancer. Screening has been hugely successful in reducing the number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer, but as with any screening programme it is not perfect. There is a small risk of:
- a false negative – where abnormal cells are missed
- a false positive – where a test identifies changes that aren’t there
- overdiagnosis – this occurs when women are treated for abnormal cells or changes, which may have resolved without treatment.
It is still hugely important that women attend their screening tests when invited, as cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer, and when detected early, the chance of successful treatment and recovery are good.
Diagnosing and treating cervical cancer
Due to the often symptomless nature of cervical cancer, screening is the first line of defence in catching and treating cases early. If abnormalities are detected following a screening, the patient should be called back within a couple of weeks for further testing.
However, there are sometimes symptoms, including:
- irregular or unusual vaginal bleeding
- pain in your lower back or pelvis
- blood in your urine
- swelling of one or both legs.
If you think that you have symptoms of cervical cancer you should see your GP as a matter of urgency. If they are also concerned you should be sent for a smear test, and if is positive you should be referred to hospital for specialist care and further testing.
There are a number of tests which may be used to diagnose you with cervical cancer:
- Colposcopy – a specialist will examine your cervix with a microscope and may remove a small tissue sample (biopsy) for further testing. It may sometimes be possible to treat any abnormal cells during the colposcopy, otherwise treatment will be assessed depending on the outcome of the colposcopy.
If the colposcopy or biopsy reveal that you do have cervical cancer, then further testing may include:
- A pelvic exam under general anaesthetic
- Blood tests
- A CT scan
- An MRI scan
- A chest x-ray
- A PET scan
Each of these further tests is to establish the extent and spread of the cancer. It is crucial that medical staff take every care at each step of the diagnosis journey, as any error can potentially lead to a misdiagnosis, leading to further unnecessary pain and suffering.
The treatment you will need will depend on the stage of the disease at the point of diagnosis and whether or not the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Potential treatments include:
- surgery to remove the cancer
- hysterectomy, or removal of the womb
What are the effects of a misdiagnosis?
Cervical cancer, when caught early, is incredibly treatable. With screening it can be averted before it has chance to develop, and early detection can mean that it can be treated in a less intrusive manner with excellent chances of recovery. So an error or a delay in your diagnosis can cost you dearly, robbing you of the chance to successfully treat your cancer at an earlier stage.
According to Cancer Research UK, “when diagnosed at its earliest stage, more than 9 in 10 (96%) people with cervical cancer will survive their disease for one year or more, compared with 1 in 2 (50%) people when the disease is diagnosed at the latest stage.” This illustrates the immense importance of being diagnosed and treated effectively as soon as possible.
Misdiagnosis, causing the disease to become more advanced, can increase the likelihood of the need for more aggressive treatment, and with it more adverse side effects. Surgeries such as a hysterectomy, or chemotherapy can have many unwanted side effects and can affect a woman’s ability to have children in the future. These are factors that will be considered when assessing your claim for compensation.
Why trust Sheldon Davidson Solicitors with your claim?
Cervical cancer misdiagnosis claims, like any other medical negligence claim, can be challenging and complex to negotiate. It is important to choose a highly experienced firm of cancer misdiagnosis claims experts with a proven track record to give you the best possible chance of success.
Based in the North West, Sheldon Davidson Solicitors support clients from across England and Wales, and are lauded for their sensitive, but incredibly efficient approach. Speak to us today, with no obligation, to get information and advice on your case.
Speak to us today for an initial assessment – one of our claims specialists will assess your situation and it will cost you nothing to find out if you have a case. Deciding to claim for compensation can feel daunting but we will guide you through the process. We offer legal representation on a no win, no fee basis, so if we don’t win your case, you’ll have nothing to pay.
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