Cervical Cancer - Medical Malpractice Lawyers
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Our medical malpractice lawyers deal with Cervical Cancer negligence cases. If you would like legal advice at no cost and with no further obligation just call the helpline or complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices. Our Cervical Cancer medical malpractice lawyers usually deal with personal injury compensation cases on a contingency basis which means that you only pay your lawyers legal fees if the case is won.
Cervical cancer is regarded by the medical profession as a preventable disease because pre-cancerous changes can be detected by pap smears obtained during routine pelvic examinations. Significant advances in medical knowledge have made it possible to effectively prevent and treat this illness through early detection, and thereby minimize the effects. Pap smears must however be carried out properly and interpreted by an experienced specialist.
Mistakes which can amount to cervical cancer medical malpractice can lead to a delay in diagnosis which may deprive patients of the chance for a cure and these include lost records, failing to realize the importance of a patient’s complaints, treating a patient inappropriately, misreading pap smears, inaccurate test results or failing to refer a patient to a cancer specialist.
Pap smears are tests performed during routine pelvic examination by inserting a speculum into the vagina and samples of living cells are removed using a spatula. These samples are then microscopically analyzed for the presence of cancerous or precancerous changes often in the absence of any symptoms. If cancer of the cervix or precancerous change is detected early then survival rates are very high with rapid and appropriate treatment. Early diagnosis as a result of pap smear screening could almost eliminate the chances of developing invasive cervical cancer. The most common mistakes leading to cervical cancer medical malpractice made by doctors include failure to :
- test when a patient exhibits indicative symptoms
- identify a cancerous mass in the cervix during a routine cervical examination
- perform a pap smear
- correctly interpret the pap smear or biopsy results;
- recommend appropriate treatment options
- react quickly to biopsy findings
- arrange to have a biopsy performed when the physical examination results are abnormal
The medical profession which includes consultants, doctors, nurses and hospital technicians usually provides a caring service with a high standard of excellence for their patients however there are occasions when things go wrong and if you have been injured as a result of a failure by the medical profession or if you are the dependent of someone who has died as a result of wrongful medical treatment then you may be entitled to financial compensation for cervical cancer medical malpractice.
Cervical Cancer Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you believe that you are the victim of medical malpractice and wish to discuss a potential compensation claim with a cervical cancer lawyer then just use the helpline or complete the contact form or email our offices and a specialist medical malpractice lawyer will discuss your claim at no cost to you and with no obligation.
Cervical Cancer Misdiagnosis
Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of death in women in Canada. Now, with screening tests such as the pap test for cervical cancer, fewer and fewer people are diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer so that the survival rate is much improved. This has all happened within the past 40 years or so. The rates of cervical cancer are now expected to further decrease, now that the human papillomavirus vaccination is available to younger women. HPV or human papillomavirus is believed to be a major contributing factor to getting cancer of the cervix.
Currently, over 1,000 women in Canada get cervical cancer each year. About 400 of these people will ultimately die from this cancer. The rate of death is directly proportional to the stage of cancer, which is usually less with an active screening program.
Cervical cancer begins in the cervix, which is the lowest part of the uterus that opens out into the top of the vagina. It is the third most common kind of cancer in women worldwide but less common in Canada due to pap smear screening. Cervical cancer begins rather slowly and there is a lot of time to screen for early cervical cancer. Most cervical cancers are squamous cell cancers although a few types are considered columnar type cervical cancer. Undetected dysplasia of the cervix (precancerous cells) goes on to develop cervical cancer which spreads to other pelvic and abdominal areas, including the bladder, intestines, liver and lungs. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomaviruses. There are some types of HPV that do not cause cervical cancer. HPV is also a cause of genital warts.
Other risk factors for cervical cancer are having multiple sex partners, having sex at an earlier age, having poor economic status and those who participate in high risk sexual activities. Women who had mothers who took DES in pregnancy during the 1960s are at higher risk for cervical cancer. Women with an inadequate immune system are also at higher risk for the disease.
The main symptoms of cervical cancer include abnormal vaginal bleeding after menopause, between periods or with sexual activity. Many early cases of cervical cancer have no symptoms at all. If the periods become heavier or longer than they normally were, this is a sign of cervical cancer. Low back pain can indicate advanced cervical cancer, as can bone fractures, tiredness, leakage of urine or feces from the vaginal area, leg pain, loss of appetite, a single swollen leg, weight loss and pelvic pain.
Doctors have multiple ways to detect cervical cancer, including the Pap test. The Pap test can lead to a colposcopy, which is a microscope examination of the cervix. Dye can be used to highlight abnormal areas of the cervix, which can then be biopsied. The biopsied areas can be looked at under the microscope to see if and where cancer is present. A CT scan or MRI scan of the pelvis can be done to look for metastases and local areas of expansion of the cancer in advanced cervical cancer.
One way to look for cancer and get rid of it at the same time is doing a cone biopsy. You have this done when cancer is a definite and the doctor wants to remove the cancer and see if the margins can be gotten out as well as the cancer. Another way to prove cervical cancer is to do an endocervical curettage, which can find cancer cells but cannot get the whole cancer out. Chest x-rays are performed to see if the cancer has spread to the chest. A cystoscopy can tell if the bladder is involved.
The treatment of cervical cancer depends on the stage of the tumor as well as on the general health and age of the woman. The size and shape of the tumor make a difference in what kind of treatment is done. Sometimes just part of the cervix can be removed to spare the woman’s fertility. If this isn’t an issue, then the entire uterus and cervix are removed. A LEEP procedure is done to remove localized cancer in some cases and laser therapy can burn away cancerous or precancerous tissue. Radiation and chemotherapy are used to treat more advanced cancer.
Cervical Cancer Overview
Cervical cancer is cancer which is formed in the tissues of the female cervix. The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus and is the upper part of the vagina. It contains its own types of cells which are different from the cells of the lining of the uterus and the vaginal lining. There are more than 12 thousand cases of cervical cancer each year and about 4200 of these people die each year in the US.
Cervical cancer occurs when the cells of the cervix grow out of control. The cervix is a hollow canal that connects the uterus with the vagina. It is a completely curable form of cancer if it is found in its early stages. A pap test is the test used to identify the possibility of precancerous cells and cancerous cells.
The major cause of cervical cancer is the human papilloma virus, also called the HPV virus. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that you can get from having sex with someone who is infected with the virus. If you have genital warts, you are at a higher risk of getting the disease. You can have HPV for many years and not even know it until it results in cervical cancer. This is why pap tests and tests specifically for HPV should be done every few years to make sure you aren't at risk for advanced cancer. Not all HPV types result in later being at risk for cervical cancer.
The symptoms of cervical cancer can be minimal in the early stages. You can have no real symptoms when it is precancerous or in stage I cancer. When you have symptoms, these include bleeding from the vagina that is unassociated with a menstrual period. It can also cause a friable cervix that bleeds during sexual intercourse or getting a pap test. There can be pain during sexual activity and blood tinged vaginal discharge that may or may not be malodorous.
Cervical cancer is almost exclusively diagnosed via a pap test. In a pap test, the doctor scrapes some cells within the cervix and puts them in a solution or on a slide, after which it is looked at under the microscope. If HPV is noted or if there are precancerous/cancerous cells, doctors look more carefully. Sometimes a tissue biopsy is obtained. One type of tissue biopsy is a cone biopsy that removes much of the cervix for evaluation.
The treatment of cervical cancer is removal of the cervix and usually the uterus as well. If just a cone biopsy is done and the cancer is completely removed, they may keep the uterus so you can have children in the future. If this is not possible, a hysterectomy and removal of all pelvic lymph nodes is done so as to get rid of the cancer as much as possible. The ovaries and fallopian tubes may be removed as well.
Radiation therapy using brachytherapy or the insertion of a radioactive implant can be done. External beam radiation can be utilized as well.
Chemotherapy can be used depending on the stage of the cancer. Many times, both radiation and chemotherapy are used after surgery in higher stage cervical cancer in order to kill off the remaining cancer cells or to prolong the patient's life.
Prevention of cervical cancer includes getting regular pap tests and treatments to the cervix when there are precancerous changes or HPV changes in order to prevent progression to cervical cancer. There is also a new vaccine that contains killed HPV proteins of the major types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer. This is called Gardasil. It was originally recommended for teenagers only but has expanded to be able to be given to older women as well. Currently, those who are age 26 or younger are recommended to receive the vaccine.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Thousands of Canadian citizens are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year however only about half are diagnosed early enough to affect a cure. The key to survival is early diagnosis and treatment which is often delayed due to misdiagnosis or misinterpreted test results. Cervical cancer misdiagnosis is extremely common and failure by a healthcare practitioner that amounts to negligence is a matter of medical malpractice and entitles the victim to claim financial recompense for pain and suffering or the loss of opportunity for a cure. Our specialist medical malpractice lawyers deal with cervical cancer clinical negligence cases against doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare providers working in medical practices, clinics, hospitals and all other places where health care is dispensed. If you would like advice about cervical cancer misdiagnosis just contact our offices and a specialist medical malpractice lawyer with call to discuss your potential compensation claim without charge and without further obligation. Our medical malpractice lawyers will give you their opinion on the liability of the negligent healthcare provider and will estimate the amount of the likely award of damages there and then.
LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here