Failure to Diagnose Cervical Cancer Lawyers
Personal Injury Lawyers - Representing People Nationwide
According to the American Cancer Society, about 10,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S. in 2006. This makes cervical cancer among the most common kinds of cancer affecting women. About 4,000 of these women will die from the disease, yet the survival rate is nearly 100 percent if it is detected and treated early.
The good news is that the fatality rate for cervical cancer has decreased about 74 percent since 1992. This is primarily due to more women obtaining yearly Pap exams. These tests are effective in detecting pre-cancerous cells in their early stages, which can be easily removed to prevent cervical cancer from developing.
Pap exams are not perfect, and false-negative results do occur. Computerized screening and liquid-based samples along with other technological improvements have reduced these risks, but not removed them entirely. In fact, it was a better understanding of the risk factors that prompted recommendations to extend screening for women without a history of cervical disease.
But despite the success in reducing cervical cancer, a significant number of Pap tests are not properly administered and results continue to be misread. This is particularly tragic when you consider how preventable cervical cancer is. Cervical cancer malpractice lawsuits are often due to the doctor’s or lab technician’s failure to:
- Perform a Pap test when the patient shows cervical cancer symptoms
- Properly conduct the Pap test
- Do a biopsy of abnormal tissue found in a Pap test
- Correctly interpret the results of the Pap test or biopsy
- Identify visible cancerous cells during a cervical exam
- Begin necessary treatment in a timely manner
Lack of patient education, however, can also contribute to a failure for early detection of cancer. Some women may not be as diligent in getting tested because they may understand a Pap test to be a diagnostic rather than a screening tool. A Pap smear is a blind sample of random cells. The test is intended to determine if closer examination is indicated.
A Pap test should be accompanied by counseling which includes an explanation that it is a screening test that can be up to ten percent inaccurate, even when done by the most competent laboratory technicians. The counseling should also point out that a false-positive result will indicate further testing and evaluation that may cause undue stress.
If you or a loved one has suffered because of your physician’s failure to diagnose or delay in diagnosing cervical cancer, please contact us. We will help you find a qualified medical malpractice attorney in your area who can handle your claim.