Smear tests are offered to all women from around the age of 18, at regular intervals throughout their lives. They are offered every three to five years, depending on the local health authority provision. Smear tests are usually carried out at doctor’s surgeries, often by a nurse who runs a clinic specifically for this purpose.
A smear test involves scraping some cells from the cervix as a sample, which is then analysed to check for abnormalities. These are found in approximately six percent of cases, and they are referred for further investigation or treatment to ensure that cervical cancer does not develop. The test does not diagnose cancer, but it highlights early abnormalities that could potentially lead to cervical cancer in the future.
What Are Flawed Results in a Smear Test?
Any medical procedure can be the subject of proceedings in negligence, and when results are incorrectly reported, this negligence can result in a delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer, which can be life threatening.
Smear tests are well known for their potential to be reported incorrectly, with many women receiving negligent reports that their samples are normal when in fact they indicate that further investigations are necessary. It is unfortunate that in cases such as this, patients can miss out on the opportunity to catch cervical cancer in the earliest stages and have successful treatment.
The Implications of a Flawed Smear Test:
A smear test that is reported negligently can cause many potential problems, including:
• Panic and anxiety where a normal result is wrongly reported as abnormal.
• Unnecessary treatment of the cervix, which can lead to problems in the future such as scarring and other abnormalities.
• Missed opportunities for early investigation and treatment when an abnormal sample is negligently reported as normal.
• Loss of time in which early signs of cervical cancer could be treated, leading to the use of more invasive treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
• Infertility due to the delay in treatment when a sample is negligently reported as normal.
Can I Make a Medical Negligence Claim?
If you have suffered as a result of an incorrect report after a smear test, you should be aware that you can consult a solicitor about the possibility of making a medical negligence claim against the medical professional or practice in question. If you have had a diagnosis of cervical cancer that has been delayed or misdiagnosed, you should discuss your situation with us to see if we can help.
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