Doctor Measuring Pressure and Pulse to Patient

CervicalCheck Cancer Misdiagnosis

Abnormalities will be missed in screening programme. Sometimes abnormalities present at the cervix will not be evident on the smear slide. Other times they may be present in such small quantities that it is not reasonable to criticise a screener, exercising ordinary care, for failing to identify. Some women have had a smear test or tests that were reported as normal but in fact contained a sufficiently obvious or apparent quantity of abnormal cells such that the screener had not taken reasonable care in the performance of their duty. Where that happens, the law calls it a breach of duty and if it is shown that harm has been caused by this, an allegation of negligence will be successful.

The harm caused by a negligently misread smear test is that a pre-cancer or cancer is allowed to progress to a more advanced and serious stage, likely requiring more aggressive or invasive treatment. The affected woman may suffer devastating and life changing consequences with hysterectomy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy becoming necessary. In the most tragic of cases the woman will lose her life.

As with any illness, financial troubles are a common companion of a cancer diagnosis, with loss of income, additional expenses and perhaps reduced income for a partner, whose life will also be turned upside down at this time. It all imposes an unwelcome financial burden on the household.

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