Cervical cancer is a form of cancer that affects the cervix, which is located at the lower part of the uterus and connects to the vagina. The most common cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is transmitted with skin-to-skin sexual contact. It is a virus that can be carried by both men and women, both of whom might not know they are carrying the virus. When a woman is exposed to HPV, abnormal cells can begin to grow on the cervix, which can lead to the development of cancer.
Should abnormal cells go undetected it can lead to the development of precancerous or cancerous cells. This type of cancer tends to grow at a very slow rate and is most often found with a Pap test, or Pap smear. Even though these tests are most often administered at a primary care physician’s office or at a gynecologist’s office, they are read by a cytotechnologist at a lab. These technicians have a lot of test results to read, which leads to a very high rate of misreadings by the technicians. According to the American Medical Association, close to 30 percent of all Pap tests are read incorrectly.
Impacts of Incorrect Readings
The impacts of incorrect Pap test readings can be devastating. Women might not know they have cervical cancer or that they might have an increased risk at developing cervical cancer if their tests have been read incorrectly. To make matters worse, there aren’t many symptoms women can be on the lookout for when it comes to cervical cancer. Symptoms typically don’t manifest until the cancer has advanced to more serious stages or until it has metastasized to another area of the body.
Positive Pap Test
Should you receive the results of a Pap test and they come back positive for abnormal cells on your cervix then you should have another test done in a couple of months. There are other tests that can be performed instead of a second Pap test and they are up to the discretion of the doctor. One of those other tests is the colposcopy, which examines the surface of the cervix. Should the doctor find an area of the cervix that appears abnormal, he or she should perform a biopsy of the area to determine the issue.
A Delayed Diagnosis
A delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer can happen due to any of the following reasons:
- Pap tests are read incorrectly
- Follow up procedures are not performed by the doctor
- Doctor fails to recognize important information from the patient’s medical history
- Doctor ignores concerns or symptoms presented by the patient
Since cervical cancer is one of the slowest-growing cancers, there’s no reason a doctor should not be able to diagnose the disease and issue treatment before it spreads to another area of the body. If a doctor or other medical professional has committed any of the missteps listed above they could be held liable for medical malpractice if the cancer has spread.
Contact a Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Delayed Cervical Cancer Diagnosis in Pennsylvania
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys at Matzus Law LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania, including Allegheny, Butler, Westmoreland and Washington Counties, Pittsburgh, and Cranberry Township. Call us today at 412-206-5300 or email us to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 310 Grant Street, Suite 3210 Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.