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Cervical Cancer Compensation Claims
Cervical cancer can have a devastating impact on the lives of the people it affects, which is why early detection is so crucial to allow treatment to be started as soon as possible. If your condition was misdiagnosed or you have suffered due to a delay you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
The experienced and understanding team of medical negligence solicitors at JMW can help you to make a successful cervical cancer claim to ensure you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.
If you feel you may be eligible to make a compensation claim for cervical cancer negligence simply call us on 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will call you back to discuss your case. Our initial advice is free and we are able to offer no win, no fee agreements on the cases we take on.
How JMW Can Help
We have one of the most experienced and respected clinical negligence teams in the UK, and we are able to offer free initial advice on whether you have a case and what you might be able to claim for.
Our team, headed by leading medical negligence solicitor Eddie Jones, has solicitors on the Law Society’s specialist panel for clinical negligence and the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitor panel.
JMW has a great deal of experience representing people who have suffered significant health problems due to unacceptable cervical cancer screening errors, and helping them to secure the compensation to which they are entitled.
We are able to handle cases on a no win, no fee arrangement if we believe there is a case to pursue. If, after talking to us, you decide not to take matters further, you are under no obligation to do so and will not be charged for the advice given.
Making a Cervical Cancer Claim
Cervical cancer is the sixth most common malignancy in females, and is rare before the age of 20, with peak incidences in the 45 to 55-year-old age group. If caught early the prognosis for women is generally good as abnormal cells can often be removed with a minor routine procedure, preventing the disease from advancing.
However if screening errors or any other form of medical negligence occur this can mean abnormalities are not detected, leaving women to develop cervical cancer that goes unchecked for many years. This can lead to the need for invasive surgery, chemotherapy and, in the worst cases, a terminal prognosis.
Not all screening errors constitute medical negligence as it is recognised that sometimes very subtle abnormalities may not be detected by a screener looking at a smear test slide. However, in cases JMW has handled, clear signs were present that no reasonable screener should have missed.
The Responsibility of a GP
Prognosis depends on early diagnosis and treatment meaning negligence can occur if a GP fails to recognise typical symptoms and make an urgent referral to a gynaecologist. GPs are also under an obligation to ensure patients attend smear tests. Efforts must be made to arrange further appointments and warn patients of the potential risks of non-attendance.
The Consequences of Misdiagnosed Cervical Cancer
The most severe implication for women who have suffered cervical screening errors is a reduced life expectancy. However, it is not the only devastating consequence as women may also be unable to have children, suffer from other health complications or have to undergo gruelling invasive treatment.
Support from Jo’s Trust
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is a charity and support service that was set up to provide help to women and families who have been affected by cervical cancer. As well as running a helpline for anyone in need of support the organisation runs an online forum and local support groups in the community.
Another key area for Jo’s Trust is campaigning and raising awareness to try to ensure that as many women as possible go for regular smear tests.
Who is most at risk of cervical cancer?
Most women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer are aged between 25 and 64; however, in the last decade incidence numbers have increased in the younger age bracket.
One of the major causes of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common virus that is transmitted between people during sexual intercourse. Research has suggested that the following can contribute to the development of cervical cancer:
- Sex at a young age
- Multiple sexual partners
- Promiscuous male partners
- History of sexually-transmitted diseases, particularly HPV
- High parity (number of childbirths)
- Heavy smoking
Read more about potential risk factors of cervical cancer here.
How are women screened for cervical cancer?
The cervix is an organ at the entrance to a woman’s uterus. Screening for cervical cancer works by checking for precancerous cell changes. If these are correctly identified you can be referred for treatment to prevent the development of full-blown cancer.
Smear test slides are checked twice with the first examination taking around eight minutes. If any abnormalities are found you should be informed and receive treatment. Slides that pass the first test are double-checked by a system called rapid review. This second check takes a few seconds; however, the test is not conclusive and may still miss signs of cervical cancer.
Although the rapid review system works in the majority of cases there may still be too many that slip through the net. Improving the system to ensure slides are properly checked twice could ensure fewer women suffer from screening errors.
How often should women be screened for cervical cancer?
The screening programme in the UK currently states that:
- Women should receive their first invitation for screening before they turn 25 years old
- Women aged 25 to 49 will be screened every three years
- Women aged 50 to 64 will be screened every five years
- Women aged 65 or over are only screened if they have not had a smear test since the age of 50 or have had recent tests showing abnormalities
How is cervical cancer diagnosed?
Diagnosis is most commonly made through the screening process and patients have no symptoms. The cells in this case are usually precancerous and if treated the majority will not go on to develop cervical cancer.
Clinically, the first symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding. At first this is irregular but may become continuous. Vaginal discomfort, discharge and dysuria (pain when passing urine) may also be evident. As a tumour grows it may invade the bladder and rectum and symptoms can evolve causing obstruction.
When a patient presents with any symptoms suggestive of cervical cancer an urgent referral to a gynaecologist must be made by a GP. Tests, including a colonoscopy and biopsies will be undertaken to establish a diagnosis.
For more information on the diagnosis of cervical cancer, visit the NHS website.
What treatment is available for cervical cancer?
Once a diagnosis is established treatment will begin, which takes the form of either radiotherapy or surgical therapy. The type of treatment received depends on what stage the disease is at and the age and preference of the patient.