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Missed Cervical Cancer Diagnosis

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A 31 year old woman whose cervical cancer was left undiagnosed for over a year has been awarded a substantial settlement of over £113,000 from Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust after medical negligence solicitors at Pearson took on her case.

Cervical Cancer Case

Our client visited her GP and reported signs of irregular bleeding, but an initial smear test reported that no abnormal cells were seen, a later note and letter sent to our client said:

“The cells in the samples from your cervix looked normal.  This means your risk of cervical cancer is very low at this time.”

It has since been revealed that abnormal cells, mostly of a small cell pattern, were identified and there were some changes to the cells of the cervix, these were not reported by the defendant’s laboratory.

Over a few months, she had a variety of pains in her abdomen, groin and back, as well as irregular bleeding, eventually, a pelvic ultrasound showed a tubo-ovarian mass lesion.  Our client was then seen by the gynecology team and an MR scan was planned.  This scan revealed a number of abnormalities including a necrotic area abutting the pelvis, which signifies the death of the cells in bodily tissues, enlarged lymph nodes and a further mass.

A referral to clinical oncologists found that her disease was inoperable due to its extent and our client was told by consultants at the Christie Hospital that she had stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix.  She then began an extensive period of chemotherapy, followed by pelvic radiotherapy.

“Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix and as she needed immediate chemotherapy my client suffered many subsequent side effects, including fever, the necessity for a stoma, heart failure, early menopause and a failure to harvest her eggs, as treatment had to be undertaken urgently,” said medical negligence solicitor, Daniel Phelps.

“Her long term prognosis is poor and her risk of the cancer reoccurring have increased due to delays in treatment as it progressed from stage 3b to 4, all of which was affected by her late cervical cancer diagnosis,” he added.

The Settlement

The Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust made an out-of-court settlement and admitted a breach of duty of care to our client when the initial cervical smear was negligently underreported and should have been noted by any reasonably competent cytoscreener.

“It is quite probable my client could have avoided chemotherapy and its associations had she been diagnosed properly.  At the same time, the delays have prevented any chance she had of having children.  All of this combined with her poor prognosis have obviously taken their toll and she has developed acute anxiety and depression,” added Daniel.

“I would urge anyone hesitant and scared of going for a smear test to contact their GP to discuss it and to remember that you can take a friend along, as well as contacting the variety of charities and advice and support available.”

“The main message is that we all know our bodies better than anyone else and if you feel something is wrong you have the right to ensure you are heard and get the appropriate treatment,” advised Daniel Phelps.

How can we help

If you would like to discuss any medical negligence issue or feel you have received substandard treatment from doctors or NHS professionals then contact our medical negligence solicitors for a no-obligation chat on 0161 785 3500 or

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Daniel Phelps


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