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Insight

Accurate cervical cancer screening avoids unnecessary delays in detecting preventable cervical cancer

Last week was Cervical Screening Awareness Week, run by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, the country's leading charity for cervical cancer

Cancer Research UK estimates that 99.8% of cervical cancer cases are preventable and evidence suggests that every year, screening prevents a significant number of deaths. In the UK, around 70-73% of women take up the opportunity for screening and over the past decade, cervical cancer mortality rates have decreased by around a sixth in the UK. Survival rates continue to improve. Earlier diagnosis leads to better outcomes and cervical screening can detect abnormal cells even before cervical cancer has developed.

These statistics highlight the importance of raising awareness for cervical screening. If abnormal cells are detected, they can be treated and cervical cancer can be prevented altogether. In addition to encouraging women to take the opportunity to undergo cervical screening, it is also important to promote proper standards of care and due diligence by those screening cervical smear results to ensure accurate reporting.

Unfortunately, as a medical negligence lawyer, I commonly see cases involving delayed or missed diagnosis of cervical cancer.

Some of the most common types of claim concerning cervical cancer are as follows:

  • Screening errors: failure to properly identify abnormal cells on a smear test
  • Administrative errors: failure to appropriately act upon abnormal smear results
  • Clinical errors: failure to properly investigate symptoms of cervical cancer leading to delayed diagnosis

Over the years, I have sadly seen many claims involving misreported smear tests where abnormal cells have not been identified when they ought to have been. As highlighted by the statistics, cervical cancer is often preventable with proper and accurate screening. I have also seen several claims involving delayed diagnosis due to clinical and administrative errors.

If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer and are concerned there was a missed opportunity to treat abnormal cells before the cancer developed, or to diagnose the cancer sooner, you may have been the subject of medical negligence.

Delayed diagnosis can have a significant impact on your health and life. Pursuing a claim can obtain damages to help you get the treatment and support that you need.

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