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Cervical cancer misdiagnosis &
cancer of the cervix claims

Cervical cancer misdiagnosis & cancer of the cervix claims

How much can you claim?

A 33 year old woman was forced to undergo an emergency abortion and hysterectomy after a smear test result was incorrectly reported. She was awarded:


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Claiming for cervical cancer negligence

Medical negligence whilst uncommon can have a big impact on your life and wellbeing.

Finding out you have cervical cancer can be devastating but medical advancements mean that many of those diagnosed have a good chance of surviving the diseases. However, the misdiagnosis of cervical cancer and other types medical negligence can make a frightening experience even worse. While misdiagnosis or poor levels of care don’t happen in the majority of cases, it can leave patients feeling vulnerable at a time they should be able to rely on the health care system.

If you experienced delays, misdiagnosis, or cervical cancer signs were missed, , you could bring a claim for medical negligence. While compensation won’t right the wrongs that you’ve experienced, it could  give you financial support to help you through a difficult time. Compensation can reflect the long-term implications of medical negligence and the outgoings you may have had to pay, such as the cost of travel or lost earnings due to not being able to work.

Your Legal Friend is a team of experienced and knowledgeable legal practitioners with a wealth of experience of working with victims of medical negligence. If you’ve been affected, we could help you secure compensation. Right from the beginning of the process you’ll have access to our friendly team, who will guide your case throughout to ensure the best possible outcome for your individual case. We pride ourselves on understanding our clients’ needs and ensure that during the case the process is kept as stress free as possible for you.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The time limit on making a cervical cancer claim

There is a time limit on making any medical claim. If you’ve been affected, you have 3 years from ‘date of knowledge’ to start the process. Date of knowledge refers to the point that you first realised that a mistake had been made, in some cases this can be months after a diagnosis or treatment. This is usually the date of diagnosis in most cancer cases.

If you do not claim within the set time period, your claim will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’ and will unfortunately not be taken further. There are two exceptions to this rule, in the case of children and if the negligence directly led to a fatality. In these cases suing the NHS for negligence is still possible as the date on which time begins to run is the date of the child’s 18th birthday, and in the case of fatalities, from the date of death.

If while undergoing treatment for cervical cancer or even after this point you were a victim of medical negligence we may be able to help you start a compensation claim. If you’re unsure whether your situation falls within the time limit we’re happy to discuss your personal case and help you understand if you can take it forward.

We recommend that when you have a case for cancer malpractice that you start it as quickly as possible. You can make a claim in Court up to 3 years from the date of knowledge but this often means that the details aren’t as clear in your mind and the necessary records can be harder to obtain as more time passes.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of cancer negligence solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • No win, no fee – guaranteed
  • Over 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation
I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much

Mrs E. Swaffield

Our cervical cancer negligence experience

Our medical negligence team has years of experience working on a wide variety of cancer negligence cases so we understand just how difficult a decision it can be to bring a cervical cancer negligence case.

That’s why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by our specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts, to guarantee the best results for you.

Our cervical cancer negligence team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high value cervical cancer negligence cases.

Laura is recognised within the legal profession as a leader in the field of medical negligence and serious injury compensation. Laura has acted in a wide range of cases over her 17 years of practice and has particular expertise in acting for children who have suffered brain injury due to mismanaged birth or surgical errors, and in managing claims that have resulted in the death of a loved one. Laura has achieved a number of large settlements including £5.4 million for a 7 year old and £4 million for an 11 year old child.

Laura’s expertise and dedication to her clients is recognised in the Chambers guide to the Legal Profession in which she was praised for the efficiency of her approach to case handling and described as “tenacious and detail-oriented”.

Laura has been a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel since 2005 and accredited as a Senior Litigator in the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) since 2006.  Laura is also a member of the specialist lawyers panel for Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the UK’s leading charity committed to patient safety and justice.

If you’d like advice as to whether you might be able to pursue a cancer negligence claim, either call our freephone number or submit your details through the form on this page and we’ll be in touch to schedule a phone call at a time that’s convenient for you. If you decide that you’d like to start a claim, one of our medical malpractice lawyers will be able to tell you whether you can enter into a No Win, No Fee agreement*, meaning that in the event that your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay any legal costs so there’s no financial risk to you.

The effects of medical negligence can be devastating for the individual and their families, so securing appropriate compensation for them as quickly as possible is our top priority.

Laura Morgan
Director of Medical Negligence

*Our No Win, No Fee agreement

Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win

Whatever the nature of your cervical cancer negligence claim, we always seek the maximum level of compensation for our clients – and if your case is unsuccessful, we don’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard cervical cancer negligence claims.

With our no win, no fee guarantee, you pay nothing, unless you win your compensation claim. At that point you will only pay your insurance premium, if applicable, and the success fee, which will never be more than 25% of the amount you win.

No Win, No Fee Solicitors

Start your claim in 10 minutes

For a FREE, confidential, no-obligation assessment of your claim, simply complete this short form. We aim to call you back within 10 minutes.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The cervical cancer negligence claims process

Step 1 - Obtaining your medical records

We ask you to sign forms of authority so that we can obtain your medical records from your GP and any hospitals that have treated you. 

Step 2 - Providing your statement of what happened

As the medical experts we instruct need to know what happened during your treatment, we work with you to draft a detailed, accurate statement in your own words.

Step 3 - Minimising your loss

You are responsible for minimising the losses you have incurred as a result of the alleged medical negligence, so you need to attend any available treatments that could aid your recovery.  You may also need to return to work as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Step 4 - Establishing that a breach of duty occurred

You must prove that the treatment you received fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent and skilful medical specialist of the type who treated you and that, as a result, you suffered a loss or injury. To do this, we obtain independent medical evidence from an expert in the appropriate area of medicine.

Step 5 - Establishing the effect of the breach of duty

We have to establish whether the sub-standard treatment you received is likely to have led to your injury or loss.  As this can be difficult to establish, you may need to see one or more medical experts who will assess your current condition and what the future holds for you.

Step 6 - Calculating the value of your claim

The value of your claim comprises:

  • general damages for the pain, suffering and impact of the negligence on your daily life both now and in the future
  • actual financial losses such as loss of earnings, cost of care, medical and travel expenses.

Step 7 - Proving your loss

You need to keep all original financial documents safe as these will be needed when we prepare your case to go to Court.  These documents include accounts, payslips, and receipts for expenses and medical treatments.

Step 8 - Preparing your case for Court

Although only a small number of cases proceed to a trial, we prepare every case for this eventuality.

Step 9 - Attending the trial in Court

The trial takes place before a Circuit or High Court judge who will make a decision based on the evidence we have prepared.

Step 10 - Awarding your compensation claim

If you win your case, the amount of compensation will be decided by negotiation with the defendant or, if your case goes to trial, by the judge. The defendant will usually be ordered to pay us the costs we have incurred in preparing your case.  We will also agree a date by which your compensation will be paid to us so that we can pay your compensation as quickly as possible.

Frequently asked questions

Can I claim for cervical cancer misdiagnosis?

You may be able to claim compensation if you were misdiagnosed or if you’ve experienced another type of medical negligence. In order to make successful cervical cancer misdiagnosis claims, victims will need to demonstrate that the level of care they received from the health care system was below what should be expected and that they have had worse outcome from their treatment as a result. Compensation claims may be successful if you experienced the following:

  • Misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis

The relatively mild symptoms of cervical cancer to begin with means it can be misdiagnosed or that a patient isn’t diagnosed as quickly as possible. Failure to diagnose cervical cancer can have serious consequences on a person’s health, including the extent of treatment they will need to treat the disease or slow its progression. If you experienced a misdiagnosis of cervical cancer, you may be able to claim missed cervical cancer compensation.

  • Delay in treatment

There are guidelines in place in the NHS to ensure those that have been diagnosed with cervical cancer receive an efficient level of treatment in order to tackle the disease. However, sometimes delays can occur, leading to the disease spreading. In this case, it may be possible to claim cervical cancer compensation to reflect the damage the delay has caused.

  • Incorrect treatment

If you have received a cervical cancer diagnosis, there are multiple treatment options. A team of medical professionals should work together to advise you on the treatment needed but if you receive poor guidance it can result in the incorrect treatment being given. For instance, if you’re recommended extensive surgery, when this wasn’t needed, you could have a potential compensation claim.    

  • Poor treatment

Cervical cancer can need extensive treatment, including surgery, and you should be able to rely on those responsible for your care to deliver the treatment you expect and deserve. Poor treatment, for instance if you picked up an infection after surgery due to negligence, can affect your recovery time and not only affect your ability to fight the disease but you wider physical and mental health.

How much compensation will I get?

If you want to make a cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim or a claim for another type of medical negligence, the amount you could receive will be calculated depending on your personal experiences and the outcome of the delay.

When you work with us a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer will work with you to understand your situation and calculate the value of your claim. The value will take into account various factors, such as whether further medical treatment is now needed as a result and how your quality of life will be affected. The total amount can be thousands. In 2014, the NHS paid out more than £194 million in compensation claims due to medical negligence.

If you want to find out how much your compensation for delayed cancer diagnosis could be worth you can reach out to our expert team to learn how to take the next step.

How long do I have to make a claim?

From the date of knowledge, or the date that you realised you were the victim of medical negligence, you have 3 years to make a compensation claim.

We understand that after having cervical cancer, starting a case is likely not to be on your list of priorities. But we recommend that you start the process as soon as possible. This not only means records are more accessible but ensures you’re better able to recall details. Throughout a compensation for delayed diagnosis we work with you to make the process as stress free as possible. The law means it can be confusing to know whether your claim falls within the 3-year time limit, if you’re unsure we can help clarify your case for you.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What causes cervical cancer?

There are several factors that have been labelled as causes of cervical cancer but in almost all cases it is the result of a change in cell DNA caused by HPV, or the human papilloma virus.

There are more than 100 types of HPV and at least 15 are considered high risk for causing cervical cancer. While HPV is common, most women will come into contact with it at least once, it usually doesn’t cause cancer. However, types 16 and 18 of HPV are associated with 70% of cervical cancer cases. According to the NHS, more than 99% of women who develop cervical cancer have previously been infected with HPV. There is now a vaccine against HPV, although it doesn’t protect against all strains of the virus, and using a condom during sex can reduce the risk of becoming infected with HPV.

As well as HPV, there are several other risk factors for cervical cancer which can increase the likelihood of the disease developing. These include:

  • Smoking
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Taking the oral contraceptive pill for more than five years
  • Having children

Some studies have also suggested other cervical cancer causes but further research is needed into these, including:

  • Family history
  • Exposure to a chemical called tetrachloroethylene

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

Initially the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer aren’t always obvious with more apparent signs not being seen until it reaches an advanced stage. The main sign of cervical cancer is unusual vaginal bleeding, usually occurring after sex. Other symptoms of cervical cancer include pain and discomfort during sex and an unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge.

If the cancer spreads to surrounding tissue and other organs it can result in other cervical cancer symptoms, including:

  • Constipation
  • Blood in the urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness and a lack of energy
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Bone pain
  • Swelling of one of the legs
  • Severe pain in the side or back due to the swelling of the kidneys
  • Changes in bladder or bowel habits

Even if you have had a cervical screening test, the results can suggest no cancer is present when this isn’t the case. As a result, it’s important to recognise and keep an eye out for signs of cervical cancer even if a smear test has been conducted.

How is cervical cancer diagnosed?

For many women, they are first informed they have abnormal cells during a cervical screening test. The NHS Cervical Screening Programme aims to reduce the number of women who develop cervical cancer by detecting cells that could become cancerous early on and it has been successful, reducing the number of cases by around 7% every year since launch. All women aged between 25 and 49 should be invited to a screening every 3 years. However, cervical screening isn’t always 100% accurate.

If cervical screening results come back showing abnormal cells or you present other cervical cancer symptoms and signs to your GP there are several ways that medical professionals can get a cervical cancer diagnosis, including:

  • Colposcopy

A gynaecologist usually carries out a colposcopy. It involves using a small microscope to examine the cervix and, in some cases, it may also include a biopsy, where a small tissue sample is taken to be tested for cancerous cells.

  • Cone biopsy

A cone biopsy is usually carried out under a local anaesthetic and in a hospital. It is a minor operation where a small, cone-shaped section of the cervix is removed to allow it to be examined under a microscope.

Diagnosing cervical cancer may require further tests in order to understand if there’s a risk that the cancer has spread and how widespread it is. These tests could include:

  • A pelvic examination carried out under general anaesthetic
  • Blood tests
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Chest x-ray
  • PET scan

Can cervical cancer be misdiagnosed?

While the majority of women that have cervical cancer receive excellent care throughout their treatment there are times when cervical cancer is misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosis can occur if a doctor fails to act on lab results, interpret test findings incorrectly, or fails to act on it further. As the symptoms of cervical cancer are typically not obvious initially, it can also mean that it is misdiagnosed to begin with unless follow-up appointments or further testing is requested.

Misdiagnosed cervical cancer can be labelled as many different conditions, including nerve pain, sarcoma, protruding disks, torn ligaments, and others. Cervical cancer misdiagnosis means that treatment can be significantly delayed; allowing the disease to progress through the stages of cervical cancer, and this can have a big impact on the success and the extent of treatment needed.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

How is cervical cancer treated?

Treatment for cervical cancer varies from person to person and how far advanced it is. Cervical cancer is treatable in many cases and a team of medical experts work together to decide the best course of action for each individual, although the final decision remains with the patient. The treatment options for cervical cancer will consider the stage of cancer, whether it is treatable and personal circumstances.

Cervical cancer treatment includes the following or a combination of these options:

  • Removal of abnormal cells

Cervical cancer screenings can highlight when abnormal cells are present but haven’t become cancerous yet. While cancer is not present the results indicate that a person could be at a higher risk of developing cancer in the future. The removal of abnormal cells aims to prevent this risk. There are a number of ways health professionals can do this, including using laser therapy or removing the abnormal tissue as part of a biopsy.

  • Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatment. It can both cure cervical cancer and slow the progression of the disease when it is not treatable. Chemotherapy is usually administered through an IV drip, although there are alternatives, and works by killing the cancerous cells present in the cervix.

  • Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy can be combined with both chemotherapy and surgery as well being used as on its own. Radiotherapy works by destroying cells that have become cancerous but it can also damage some of the surrounding healthy tissue. In most cases, patients having this treatment for cervical cancer will have radiotherapy delivered both externally and internally to provide a complete solution.

  • Surgery

In some cases of cervical cancer, surgery may be needed to remove the cancerous tissue. The level of surgery required will depend on the stage that the cancer is at and whether or not it has spread. If diagnosed during the very early stages a radical trachelectomy can be performed, this surgery removes the cervix, surrounding tissue and the upper part of the vagina but leaves the womb in place. It’s often an option chosen for women who want to have children in the future.

If the cancer has advanced, then a hysterectomy may be required. This is where the cervix and womb are both removed and, in some cases, the ovaries, and fallopian tubes as well. In rare cases a pelvic exenteration may be needed but this is usually only if cervical cancer returns after a previous course of treatment. This is a major operation and involves removing the cancer, as well as the bladder, rectum, vagina, and the lower section of the bowel.

What are the different types of cervical cancer?

There are two main cervical cancer types and they affect different cells within the cervix. Both types of cervical cancer can be detected through identifying abnormal cells during a cervical screening test, sometimes known as a smear test. 

  • Squamous cell cancer

Named after squamous cells, squamous cervical cancer is the most common type, accounting for around 80% of cases. It occurs when the cells that cover the outer surface of the cervix become abnormal and cancerous.

  • Adenocarcinoma

Adenocarcinoma is a type that are seen throughout the passage that connects the cervix to the womb and produce mucus. For every 10 cases of cervical cancer around 1 or 2 will be due to cancerous adenocarcinoma cells.

  • Other types of cancer

In very rare cases other types of cancer can also occur in the cervix. For example, lymphoma can occur in the cervix, and while the cervix is affected it can mean different treatment options and survival rates as it isn’t the same as cervical cancer.

What is the cervical cancer survival rate?

The survival rate of cervical cancer is improving as more research and investment is being poured into finding alternative treatments and potential cures. According to cervical cancer statistics from Cancer Research, 67% of women fighting cervical cancer will survive their diagnosis by more than five years. Overall, more than 6 in 10 women that are diagnosed with cervical cancer today will survive their disease for at least a decade. In the UK, this means that just under 1,000 women die from cervical cancer each year.

For women that are diagnosed before they are 40, they have an even higher chance of beating their disease. The cervical cancer survival rate in this age category shows that 9 in 10 survive their disease for more than 5 years. The stage at which the cancer is diagnosed also has a significant impact, around 95% of those that are diagnosed in the first stage survive more than 5 years, while this falls to just 5% for those not diagnosed until the last stage.