Cervical cancer is a disease where abnormal cells grow and develop in the cervix and subsequently form a malignant, cancerous tumour. Primary cervical cancer is where the cancer actually starts in the cervix. Secondary cervical cancer or metastatic cervical cancer is where the cancer actually starts in another organ of the body and subsequently spreads to the cervix. Thankfully, cervical cancer is not a particularly common form of cancer in women, with approximately 3,000 being diagnosed with the disease annually. It is known that nearly all cervical cancers diagnosed are due to the human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common infection transferred through sexual intercourse. Cervical cancer is more prevalent in women between the ages of 25 and 45.
There are two main types of cervical cancer; squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for approximately 80% to 90% of cases diagnosed, is where cancer develops in the cells that line the cervix and adenocarcinoma forms in the mucus-producing gland cells of the cervix. There are a couple of other extremely rare cancers of the cervix which are called small cell carcinomas and cervical sarcomas.
The best way of preventing cervical cancer from occurring is to undergo regular cervical screening (smear test) where a sample of cervical cells are taken from the cervix and looked at in detail for any abnormalities. This is not a test for cervical cancer, rather it a test that will show any abnormalities within the cervix which then gives the opportunity to treat them appropriately and hopefully reduce the risk of cervical cancer forming. It is thought that early detection and treatment of abnormal cells within the cervix prevents a huge amount of potential cervical cancers developing.
In the UK, there is a national cervical screening programme through the NHS. All women between the ages of 25 and 64 are invited for a free cervical smear test every three to five years, depending on the particular age. There has been a lot of publicity over the years about the minimum age for cervical screening being lowered again (the minimum age for cervical screening used to be 20) as we are seeing more and more instances of younger women being diagnosed with cervical cancer.
This was particularly brought to the forefront when the celebrity Jade Goody was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 27. By the time she was diagnosed, the cancer had actually advanced and although she underwent extensive treatment, she unfortunately died at age 27. A leading Harley Street consultant who became Jade’s doctor has gone on record to say that her diagnosis should have been made by the NHS much earlier than it in fact was. The doctor has stated that Jade’s cancer had probably been growing for at least a year by the time she was diagnosed and that her death would have been completely preventable if the cervical cancer had been picked up in its infancy. After her diagnosis, there was a dramatic increase in the number of women attending cervical smear tests and she campaigned until her death for the age of first screening to be lowered to 20.
Cervical cancer can be cured if caught at an early stage, with treatment options generally being surgery, radiotherapy and possibly chemotherapy, depending on the stage of the cancer.
Misdiagnosis of Cervical Cancer
If you or a loved one has (or has had) cervical cancer that was previously misdiagnosed, then do not hesitate to contact our caring and compassionate experts at Lloyd Green Solicitors.
We can help determine whether you have a potential clinical negligence claim on a no win, no fee basis, which could see you awarded a substantial sum of money as compensation for your situation.