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January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on January 20, 2016 by Kelly Wolford
cervical cancer awareness

With January being Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, it is important for women in New York to understand the importance of being screened for this disease.

All too often, patients become victims of a delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer. In such cases, the late diagnosis can drastically limit a woman’s likely rate of survival, according to WebMD.com.

What is a Delayed Cancer Diagnosis?

Delayed cancer diagnoses are those that occur in advanced stages of cervical cancer. As WebMD.com explains, cervical cancer used to be a leading killer of women.

Yet, with new detection technologies, those rates have decreased in recent years. Pap test screenings, for example, help to detect early-stage cervical cancer before it has spread beyond the cervix.

However, many women continue to be diagnosed late, and late diagnoses can drastically impact survival rates. Around one out of every three women diagnosed with cervical cancer receive diagnoses “after the cancer has spread outside the cervix,” while about one out of every 10 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer “in the disease’s latest stages.”

What do survival rates look like? The WebMD.com article identifies the following survival rates based on the timeliness of a cervical cancer diagnosis:

  • Approximately 90 percent of women who receive an early-stage cervical cancer diagnosis survive for five years or more following their diagnosis.
  • Only about 20 percent of women who receive a cervical cancer diagnosis when the disease is in its “latest stages”—meaning that it has spread to distant organs—will live for five years or more following their diagnoses.

As WebMD.com explains, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recently conducted a study involving nearly 70,000 women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer. Through that study, the ACS determined some of the following significant facts and figures:

  • About 55 percent of women who received a stage I cervical cancer diagnosis had private health insurance, while about 36 percent of women with a stage I diagnosis were uninsured.
  • About 24 percent of women with a diagnosis of cervical cancer in stage III or stage IV (late-stage cancer) had private insurance, while about 35 percent of uninsured women received a late-stage cervical cancer diagnosis.
  • Older age is “the strongest predictor of late-stage disease,” with the risk of cervical cancer “being up to 2.5 times greater in women 50 years and older compared to women 21 to 34 years of age.”

To prevent a delayed diagnosis, it is important for women to be screened regularly for cervical cancer. When a delayed diagnosis is the result of a doctor’s negligence, it is important for the patient to seek help from a medical malpractice lawyer. An experienced advocate can help you to file a claim for compensation.

Consequences of Missed or Delayed Diagnoses of Cervical Cancer

According to a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one-third of all cervical cancer cases in America are diagnosed in late stages of the disease, which makes the cancer treatment much more difficult.

A late diagnosis of cervical cancer can be deadly. Women across the country can help to prevent cervical cancer deaths by undergoing routine screening procedures.

Indeed, according to the American Cancer Society, the Pap test can help to catch precancerous and cancerous cells before the disease has spread beyond the cervix or to distant organs.

However, despite the reliability of the Pap test, its availability is limited for women in certain demographics. As such, according to the CDC, state incidence rates of late-stage cervical cancer can vary based on age, race and income level.

The key to cervical cancer prevention and effective treatment is regular screening. If more women are screened for cervical cancer each year, reports from WebMD.com, ACS and CDC suggest that the incidences of cervical cancer deaths are likely to decline because fewer late-stage cancers will exist.

Better and more regular screening can mean that more cancers are diagnosed before they have spread outside the cervix.

As the ACS explains, Pap test results are reported in three different categories known as the Bethesda System (TBS). Within this system, the three primary categories for Pap test results include:

  • Results negative for intraepithelial lesion or malignancy
  • Results that show epithelial cell abnormalities
  • Results show other malignant neoplasms.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

If you were the victim of a missed diagnosis of cervical cancer, you may be able to file a claim for financial compensation. Missed and delayed diagnoses can drastically reduce a patient’s chances for survival. When a healthcare professional fails to accurately diagnose cervical cancer, that delayed or missed diagnosis might rise to the level of medical negligence. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can assess your case today.

No one wants to think about receiving a delayed diagnosis or being the victim of a missed diagnosis of cervical cancer. However, such occurrences take place more often than most of us would like to believe.

As The Guardian reports, “almost half of people who get cancer are diagnosed late, which makes treatment less likely to succeed and reduces their chances of survival.”

When late diagnoses take place, patients and their families can be eligible for financial compensation.

A medical malpractice lawyer can help you to seek+ damages for the months and years you are likely to lose as a result of a late diagnosis of cervical cancer.

Patients want to believe their doctors when they hear that test results for cancer are negative, but cancer diagnoses can be missed when healthcare professionals are negligent.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Serving Albany and Syracuse

If you or a loved one received a late cervical cancer diagnosis, or if your healthcare provider made an improper diagnosis that resulted in a delayed cervical cancer diagnosis, you may be eligible for compensation.

You should discuss your case with an experienced delayed cancer diagnosis lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP, to learn more about how our lawyers can help with your case.