A woman's cervix is located on the lower part of the uterus that opens into her vagina. Cervical cancer happens when abnormal cells on the cervix grow, often triggered by the human papillomavirus or HPV. Regular Pap tests can detect changes in cells prior to their turning into cancer. When caught early, such as through a Pap test, cervical cancer often responds well to treatment. If you are harmed due to a Syracuse or Rochester doctor's failure to diagnose cervical cancer, uterine cancer, or another form of cancer, you may have a viable lawsuit for medical malpractice. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our Syracuse cancer misdiagnosis lawyers can review the facts and determine whether you may have a basis to sue.Failure to Diagnose Cervical Cancer
HPV is transmitted by sexual skin contact. Abnormal cells may develop after being exposed to HPV, and disturbingly, many people have HPV without knowing it. When the abnormal cells are not caught and treated, they may become precancerous or cancerous. However, cervical cancer grows slowly, and for women who get Pap smears regularly, it is possible to catch cervical cancer in its early stages. The Pap smear is usually read by technicians, rather than a gynecologist. The technician may be overworked and need to read far too many tests. In some cases, they may misread the test. In other cases, the doctor simply fails to do a follow-up Pap or other tests, such as a colposcopy, which allows them to look closely at the surface of the cervix.
Unfortunately, this means that a woman's cervical cancer may progress to a more serious stage and a worse outcome. When an abnormal area is detected, a biopsy must be performed, and tissue should be removed. These procedures are not expensive, and since cervical cancer is slow to progress, these tests are likely to detect cancer at an early stage when recovery is still possible.
If a doctor is in a position to detect and diagnose cervical cancer, but they fail to do so, there may have been medical malpractice. However, not every failure to diagnose is medical malpractice. To establish a right to damages, your lawyer will need to show by a preponderance of the evidence a doctor-patient relationship, a breach of the professional standard of care by the doctor, causation, and damages. The preponderance of the evidence simply means that it is more likely than not that your version of events is true.
Causation is often hotly contested in failure to diagnose cancer cases. The issue is that in some cases, the cancer would have progressed and caused suffering or even death, regardless of whether it was detected at the time that a woman went to the doctor. In most cases, it is crucial to retain an experienced cervical cancer expert to testify on what the standard of care was and whether it was breached, as well as whether the breach is what caused the damages.
Damages that you may be able to recover if you successfully prove your case include both economic and noneconomic losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium. A family may be able to recover wrongful death damages if a failure to diagnose cervical cancer results in a loved one's death.
A critical point to understand about damages is that you can only recover for losses caused by the malpractice. In other words, you cannot recover damages for harm that you would have suffered regardless of the doctor's failure to diagnose.Consult a Skillful Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney in the Syracuse Area
If you are harmed due to a doctor's failure to diagnose cervical cancer or another form of cancer, such as colon cancer, our law firm may be able to help you recover damages from the responsible parties. Our attorneys represent injured patients in Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, Lyons, and all of Upstate New York. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.