Cervical cancer is the deadliest of all female cancers. Insidious because it can be hard to diagnose despite diligent screening and allowed to grow undetected into something dangerous. Early prevention can help strengthen your hand if you end up fighting for your life and trying to avoid becoming another grave statistic.
In the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) latest 2016 survey, doctors reported 12,984 new cases of cervical cancer. That year, 4,188 women died of the disease. Gynecologists typically administer Pap tests during routine checkups, but they do not always reveal anything abnormal. What if your doctor missed something?
Symptoms of cervical cancer
Cancer of the cervix occurs in the part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Abnormal cells can lay dormant for years without causing any issue. Common symptoms emerge when those cells grow on the cervix and surrounding tissue:
- Abnormal bleeding after vaginal sex, menopause, between periods or having longer or heavier menstrual periods than usual
- Pain during sex
- Pain in the pelvic region
- Swelling in the legs
- Problems urinating or having a bowel movement
- Blood in the urine
A Pap test is a preventative step to detect, monitor and treat precancerous conditions. It is not a diagnosis. Doctors who suspect cervical cancer should conduct a more thorough examination and recommend seeing an oncologist for a biopsy. They could order a colonoscopy to examine cells and tissue for cancer or conduct body imaging studies to see if it has spread to other parts of your body.
Deadly errors and accountability
Medical errors claim more than 250,000 lives a year, according to the CDC. They are the third-leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer. A cancer diagnosis can be devastating to you and your loved ones and leave you feeling a range of emotions. Scared about the future. Confused and angry about what caused it and why your treating physician did not detect signs of the disease earlier.
You might have suffered from medical malpractice if your doctor did not take your symptoms seriously or failed to notice abnormalities in your Pap test that allowed your cancer to grow. These are complex cases that require thorough investigations of medical records and care to determine whether you deserve compensation for someone else’s mistake.