Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide and fourteenth most common in females in the UK. In 2018 alone, an estimated 570 000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a cancer that’s found anywhere in the cervix. The cervix is the opening between the vagina and the womb (uterus).

Cancer develops when abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix grow in an uncontrolled way and form a growth, known as a tumour. Nearly all cervical cancers cases – 99 per cent – are caused by an infection from certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV).

What are the symptoms of Cervical Cancer?

Not everyone diagnosed with cervical cancer will have symptoms. But things to look out for include:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Changes to your vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain in your lower back, between your hip bones (pelvis), or in your lower tummy

These symptoms are very common and share similarities with other conditions, but they should be checked as soon as soon as possible.

Can I prevent getting it?

There are several ways to lower your chances, the most effective being:

  • Attend your cervical screening appointment which aims to find and treat changes to cells before they turn into cancer. Women between the ages of 25 and 64 are invited for regular screenings via their GP or health service.
  • Receive the HPV vaccine. All children aged 12 to 13 are offered the HPV vaccine which helps protect against all cancers caused by HPV, as well as genital warts.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In order to diagnose the cancer, or of course rule it out, your GP will examine your cervix and may take a small sample of cells from your cervix using a soft brush.

If necessary, you will be referred to a specialist to investigate further, which may involve blood tests or scans. If you are diagnosed with cervical cancer, you may need more tests. Treatment will usually include surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Misdiagnosis

When detected early and managed effectively, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable forms of cancer. But due to the non-specific and common nature of the symptoms of cervical cancer, it can be difficult to diagnose early on and there is a danger that they could be mistakenly diagnosed as part of a different condition, such as fibroids or endometriosis.

Awareness and treatment of cervical cancer is improving every day, but unfortunately some cases are still misdiagnosed, diagnosed late, or treated incorrectly.

Doctors and nurses will always try to give the best treatment possible, but mistakes do happen, particularly if you are experiencing unusual symptoms, multiple conditions, or the consultations are over the telephone.

If left untreated, cancerous cells may spread to other areas of the body, making delays or mistakes in diagnosing cervical cancer very serious, and in extreme cases can lead even death.

If you feel like your health has been adversely affected by medical negligence, RHL Solicitors expert solicitors are here to help.

Our specialist clinical negligence team adopt The Law Society’s approved ‘No Win, No Fee’ Agreement to cover their legal fees and always offer a professional and personal service.