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Cervical Cancer Malpractice

The development of cervical cancer is gradual and begins as a pre-cancerous condition called dysplasia. In this form it is 100% treatable, usually without the need for hysterectomy. Dysplasia, depending on its severity, can resolve without treatment. But more often it eventually progresses to actual cancer -- called "carcinoma in situ" (CIS) when it has not yet spread, and "microinvasive" when it has spread only a few millimeters into the surrounding tissue and has not yet penetrated blood vessels and lymph channels.

This process may take many years, but once the cancer is established it quickly spreads further into the nearby tissues.The overwhelming majority of women diagnosed today with cervical cancer have either not had regular Pap smears or they have not followed up after having an abnormal smear. Not having regular Pap smears is the single greatest risk factor for a bad outcome in women who develop cervical cancer.


Most often, cervical cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages does not cause any symptoms. When there are symptoms, the most common are:
Persistent vaginal discharge, which may be pale, watery, pink, brown, blood streaked, or dark and foul-smelling
Abnormal vaginal bleeding, especially between menstrual periods, after intercourse or douching, and after menopause, which gradually becomes heavier and longer

Symptoms of advanced cervical cancer may include:

Loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue
Pelvic, back, or leg pain
Leaking of urine or feces from the vagina
Bone fracture

Signs and tests your doctor should do:

Invasive cervical cancer often appears as an irregular fleshy growth, often firm or hard, that tends to bleed easily. But even on pelvic examination by a doctor, pre-cancers and even early cancers of the cervix are often not visible to the naked eye. Tests are necessary to diagnose cervical pre-cancers and cancers:
Pap smears screen for -- but do not diagnose -- cervical pre-cancers and cancers
Pap smears that are collected or read by special methods (ThinPrep, AutoPap, PapNet) are now available that can be useful in certain situations or in laboratories for quality control
Colposcopy is an examination of the cervix under magnification in order to locate an abnormality of the cervix
Biopsy, colposcopy, or sometimes the use of LASER (a loop electrode) or other instrument allows a diagnosis to be made
When cervical cancer is found, additional tests -- such as X-rays, using an instrument to look into the bladder (cystoscopy), and rectum and colon (colonoscopy) -- are used to determine how far the cancer has spread and what stage the disease is in

Pap smear testing can diagnose and/or prevent serious problems. See our link to information about the Pap Smear Test.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by the failure of a doctor to diagnose your condition in a timely manner, contact us now for help.


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