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Every year in the U.S. there are over 12,000 women diagnosed with cervical cancer. As the third most common type of cancer found in women, women are highly recommended to routinely undergo Pap smears in order to detect this cancer while it is still in the early stages. The cervix is tissue which connects the vagina to the uterus. Approximately one inch across, it can widen during childbirth or during the woman’s menstrual cycle.
Thankfully, cervical cancer is able to be treated successfully when it is detected early enough. For the most part, the cause of cervical cancer is the virus called human papillomavirus. This sexually-transmitted virus can cause genital warts or cervical cancer, however, it can also lie dormant in the body for years without any symptoms.
How do you know if you have cervical cancer? Just because there is abnormal cell changes in the cervix does not mean that the woman has cancer. If there are side effects from the cell changes, however, it could be pointing to cancer. Symptoms to be on the lookout for are vaginal bleeding or discharge that has blood in it. Also, pain and bleeding during sex or when something comes into contact with the cervix could point to a problem. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention as soon as possible as early detection is key.
Diagnosing and Treating Cervical Cancer
If you suspect that you may be the victim of cervical cancer, the physician may request a pap test. Cells will be scraped from the cervix and then examined to see if there were any abnormal cell changes. If there are, further tests may be requested or a biopsy may be done. Those who are diagnosed with cervical cancer could have to undergo surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these treatments. In regards to surgery, the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, or pelvic lymph nodes may be removed, depending on the circumstances of the case.
A Case of Medical Malpractice
Women rely on medical professionals to correctly diagnose this cancer in a timely matter as this could make the difference between life and death. In a case that resulted in a $19.8 million lawsuit, one doctor’s negligence resulted in the death of a mother of two. D.W. died at the age of 45 after her obstetrician-gynecologist told her that she was free of cancer when in fact she was not. D.W. had reported symptoms of vaginal bleeding, a lesion on her cervix, and she had had an abnormal Pap smear. The doctor, however, did not even examine her patient until later, but relied on the nurses’ observations. When she finally examined D.W., cancer was discovered. By then, the cancer had spread and D.W. died a year and a half later. It was determined that her life could have been saved if it were not for the lapses of the doctor and a lawsuit was awarded to the victims.
If you or a loved one is the victim of cervical cancer and you believe that your physician could and should have done more to detect or treat the cancer, you could also have a case. Medical malpractice is any lapse on the part of the hospital or doctor. If their treatment was proven to fall short of what is standard, they could be held liable for any damages what resulted. With over 4,000 women dying every year because of this very treatable form of cancer, something must be done to ensure women get the care and attention they need.
If you have more questions, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein, PC as soon as possible. We have over 60 years of experience in this area of law and will do everything in our power to protect you.