Misdiagnosis of Cervical Cancer – Who Is Responsible?
Cervical cancer is a disease that affects women and is found in the opening to the uterus or the portion of the uterus that connects to the vagina, known as the cervix. This disease causes normal cells to grow out of control and mutate in a fashion that causes masses, also known as tumors, to form.
Cervical cancer is one of the most common types of cancer found in women in a number of countries, and is the third most commonly found reproductive cancer in women. The vast majority of cases, roughly ninety percent, of cervical cancer are classified as squamous cell carcinomas. This means the cancer originates in the thin, flat cells (known as the squamous layer) on the surface of the ectocervix which is the portion of the cervix that is closest to the vagina. The other ten percent of cervical cancer cases are referred to as adenocarcinomas. These cases usually begin in the cells of the inner portion of the cervix that produce mucus, closest to the uterus and called the endocervix. In rare cases, cervical cancer can be a combination of both forms of carcinomas which is called a mixed carcinoma.
It is important to understand that changes in cervical cells are not always cancerous in nature. That being said, the cells can be precancerous, which is referred to as squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) or dysplasia. Precancerous cells can also be referred to as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). When precancerous cells are moderate to severe, they may be classified as carcinoma in situ, or non-invasive cancer.
Dysplasia is a somewhat common issue that can resolve on its own without the need for further medical treatment. However, you should be aware that precancerous cells can become cancerous, so they must be monitored. This type of transition can happen as quickly as a year or less, or may happen over a period of several years. If the cells continue to change and grow at a rapid pace, they can penetrate deep into the cervical layers, and therefore become a form of cancer that is invasive.
Even though cervical cancer is one of the most common types of cancers seen in women, and it was once the most common cause of deaths related to cancer in women, there has been a drastic decrease in deaths over the last forty years; deaths from the disease have declined by as much as seventy five percent. The main reason for this sharp decline has to do with the prevalence of routine Pap tests during regular physical examinations. When these types of tests are done at regular intervals, and prompt treatment is provided, cervical cancer has a successful recovery rate of nearly one hundred percent.
The most common symptoms noted with cervical cancer include a foul discharge and bleeding in between periods or after having sexual intercourse. Post menopausal women may also have instances of bleeding after menstruation has already stopped. These symptoms are also related to other far less serious medical issues, so the chances for error in making a proper diagnosis are somewhat common.
In order to make a firm diagnosis of cervical cancer, a Pap smear test must be done first. If this test comes back as positive, follow up tests and examinations need to be ordered. Because tests like this are based mainly on human interpretation, there is plenty of room for error. Commonly ordered tests for cervical cancer include a colposcopy to inspect the cervix visually by means of a microscope, a large loop excision that involves removing tissue samples for inspection, and cone biopsies which involve removing part of the cervix for inspection.
If you or someone you know has experienced the pain of a delayed or complete misdiagnosis of cervical cancer, you should know that you have legal rights, and you may be able to seek damages for your injuries. You should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible for assistance. He or she will review the details of your case, collect evidence, file all necessary documents, and help you throughout the entire process from start to finish.
Since most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, you never have to worry about paying in advance. This means that you can focus on your personal health and recovery without the added stress of having to fund your legal case as it progresses through the court system. Your attorney will deal with every last detail of your claim, gather medical documents, speak to medical professionals, and even contact experts to testify if necessary.
Medical professionals, hospitals, and laboratories have teams of legal personnel working hard to protect their interests, and will do whatever is possible to deny a claim of negligence. This can make it quite difficult to make headway with a case, and if you go this route on your own, you may risk running past set statutes of limitations which can cause your case to become null and void.
Because most states have strict guidelines for filing, as well as time limits that are enforced, you should never try to handle a case on your own. A personal injury attorney is your best bet for a positive outcome and is an extremely efficient option to ensure you will meet all criteria and have all paperwork completed on time, correctly, the first time.
If you are hesitant to pursue a claim because you feel it may not be necessary, or because you are not sure that you will need monetary compensation, you should definitely reconsider your position. Not only can a personal injury attorney get you damages for your injuries to help cover past, present, and future medical expenses, as well as potential compensation for pain and suffering, they may also be able to pursue punitive damages. This is done as a means to deter similar mistakes from being made in the future, which will help to prevent others from having to experience the same pain and heart break that you endured.