Pap smears are conducted in order to identify precancerous cells or cancer, aiming to remove problems before cancer can develop or spread. Critics say inadequacies in current testing practices can result in the delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer. When a false negative pap smear result is produced, the provider fails to detect existing precancerous or cancerous cells -- and the disease is given two or more years to advance and spread before the next test is conducted. The delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer can result in significant harm, suffering and medical expenses. Any woman who has been diagnosed with cervical cancer should be checked for a possible false negative in her medical history. Attorneys handling delayed diagnosis lawsuits for cervical cancer believe these persons and their family members may be eligible for significant compensation. This page provides a comprehensive look at delayed cervical cancer diagnosis related to misread pap smear results.
Cervical cancer is typically slow-growing, which gives medical providers an ample window of time to detect and treat most cases before they reach an advanced stage -- when testing is conducted properly. Because initial stages of cervical cancer are largely asymptomatic, diagnosis relies on pap smear testing. A pap smear is simply the examination of cervical tissue cells under a microscope. When irregular or abnormal cells are detected, further testing may be required to determine which type of atypical cells are present and whether to diagnose cervical cancer. If detected in an early stage, cervical cancer treatment utilizes relatively non-invasive methods such as cone biopsy.
Abnormal cells that may be indicative of cervical cancer include:
Another means to diagnose cervical cancer is through symptoms, which typically surface in more advanced stages of the disease. Symptoms of cervical cancer include pelvic pain, blood in urine or stools, bowel or bladder symptoms, unusual vaginal bleeding, odor or discharge, and pain during sex. In some cases, practitioners overlook these telltale symptoms in addition to misdiagnosing cervical cancer through a misread pap smear.
The invention of pap smear tests has significantly increased outcomes for women in regards to cervical cancer. Yet critics say new technology is resulting in many instances of misdiagnosed cervical cancer, where cancer cells were not detected during a pap smear test. In other cases, a practitioner misdiagnosed cervical cancer, even overlooking other obvious symptoms, resulting in the spread and growth of the disease. Misdiagnosis of cervical cancer can result in the spread of the disease nearby organs such as the ovaries and uterus as well as fatality, in cases that otherwise could have been treated effectively.
The U.S. Preventative Task Force has identified problems with new pap smear procedures which result in pap smear misdiagnosis of cervical cancer. One problem, the task force says, is that pap tests are now read by a cytotechnologist in a lab rather than a physician. Another is that new technology utilizes a computer program to select “interpretive or reporting areas” for the technician to review, which give “inaccurate results”. In other words, because the technician only reviews portions of the slide automatically selected by a computer, they may overlook abnormal cells and misdiagnose cervical cancer.
The misdiagnosis of cervical cancer has a significant impact on each patient. Where treatment may have been non-invasive and straight-forward at the first detection opportunity, a later diagnosis may mean the woman has to undergo aggressive and invasive treatment that may otherwise have been avoided, including hysterectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. Severe pain, loss of reproductive organs or other organ loss, permanent disability, and premature death are all possible outcomes of misread pap smears.
Because cervical cancer develops slowly, it is likely that women who were diagnosed with full-fledged cervical cancer with no previous abnormal pap smear results may have a cervical cancer misdiagnosis or misread pap smear in their medical history. Misdiagnosis of cervical cancer is a serious mistake on that with tragic costs to patients and families.
Our attorneys specialize in seeking justice on behalf of patients and their families who have been harmed by dangerous drugs or unsafe medical practices. Through settlements and winning verdicts, our attorneys have obtained millions for our clients. Let us help you today.
Filing a lawsuit will allow you seek justice for damage a cervical cancer misdiagnosis has caused you or a loved one, while also providing real compensation for your medical expenses, suffering and loss. Contact us today for a free consultation.