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The Dangers of Delayed or Failure to Diagnose Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus. The cervix connects the uterus to the vagina. Cervical cancer usually develops slowly over time. Before cancer appears in the cervix, the cells of the cervix go through changes known as dysplasia, in which abnormal cells begin to appear in the cervical tissue. Over time, if not destroyed or removed, the abnormal cells may become cancer cells and start to grow and spread more deeply into the cervix and to surrounding areas.  About 14,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Women between the ages of 35 and 44 are most frequently diagnosed with cervical cancer. The average age at diagnosis is 50. Around 4,000 women die of cervical cancer per year.

Because cervical cancer develops from a treatable, pre-cancerous condition, it is imperative that doctors correctly interpret a woman’s Pap smear test results. When dysplasia is present and doctors fail to diagnose and treat the condition, the woman is in danger of developing cervical cancer in the future. When gynecologists fail to correctly evaluate, diagnose, and treat dysplasia and cervical cancer develops as a consequence, the woman may have legal grounds to file a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare providers do not adhere to the medical community’s accepted standards of care when diagnosing or treating a patient and as a result, the patient is injured or dies. Medical malpractice typically occurs due to the health care providers’ harmful, negligent acts or failure to act. Women that believe their healthcare provider acted carelessly with their health and are suffering from cervical cancer, as a result, may want to consider contacting a medical malpractice attorney for a consultation and case review.  At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our cancer misdiagnosis lawyers help clients throughout the Upstate New York area with offices in multiple convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the medical malpractice field is reflected in the results we have achieved for our clients.

Most cervical cancers are caused by the virus HPV, a sexually transmitted infection. HPV spreads through sexual contact and can lead to cancer. Many people will get HPV at some point in their lives and not realize it because their bodies fight the infection. However, if your body doesn’t fight the infection, it can cause the cells of your cervix to change to cancerous cells. There are more than 100 kinds of HPV and about a dozen of them have been shown to lead to cancer. Early detection of these types of HPV is key to preventing cervical cancer. Regular screenings with your healthcare provider can help identify cell changes before they become cancer. The HPV vaccine can help prevent HPV infection by protecting you against the HPV that causes up to 90% of all cervical cancers.  When these cells are found early, cervical cancer is highly treatable and less likely to become serious.

Most people will not know they have cervical cancer until they are formally diagnosed with the disease. Your healthcare provider will be able to confirm cervical cancer through a series of tests and biopsies. The first signs of cervical cancer are usually mild and can only be detected by your healthcare provider. Advanced stages of cervical cancer are more likely to cause signs and symptoms.

The recommended treatment for cervical cancer is based on many factors including the stage of the disease, your age, your general health, and if you want children in the future.  The treatments for cervical cancer are radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and surgery.  Different kinds of surgery are used to treat cervical cancer. Some of the most common kinds of surgery for cervical cancer include laser surgery, cryosurgery, cone biopsy, simple hysterectomy, radical hysterectomy, trachelectomy, and pelvic exenteration.  Some people may have a combination of treatments. Your provider may use radiation or chemotherapy to treat cancer that has spread or returned. Sometimes your provider will use radiation and chemotherapy before or after surgery.

For women with cervical cancer that’s caught at the earliest stage, the five-year relative survival rate is over 90%. Almost half of all cervical cancers are diagnosed at an early stage. The five-year survival rate is 58% if cancer has spread to other tissues or organs.  There is no cure for cervical cancer, but if detected early, it is a highly treatable cancer.

Being diagnosed with cancer is both shocking and scary.  When appropriate screening guidelines are not followed, you may face a worsened prognosis for cervical cancer. It’s painful to realize that the harm could have been prevented if only a doctor had abided by the professional standard of care. The medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represent injured clients and their families throughout Upstate New York, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.

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