Experts Call For Improved Diagnosis For Cervical Cancer Victims

Early Diagnosis Is ‘Key To Prevention’ Expert Lawyers Say

26.01.2015

Leading medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are calling for improvements to the way cervical cancer is diagnosed in young women after seeing first-hand the devastating impact the illness can have on women’s lives following a rise in enquiries.

The law firm is also backing a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of delays to cervical cancer screenings. National Cervical Cancer Prevention Week organised by charity Jo’s Trust, runs from 25-31 January 2015, and with figures showing that 2,800 new cases of cervical cancer are reported in the UK each year, Irwin Mitchell is seeking to raise awareness of the importance of doctors focusing on the symptoms being displayed rather than the age of the women in front of them.

Half of the cases of cervical cancer involve women under the age of 50 and in the UK nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day while three women per day on average lose their lives to the disease.

Kate Easy, a medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office, said: “At Irwin Mitchell, we have seen an increase of cases where people have had their lives devastated because of the unnecessary delays in diagnosing various forms of cancer, including cervical.

“Our cases involve delays to diagnosis and treatment for a number of reasons, from not carrying out the appropriate tests, misdiagnosis, and even lost medical details, and the results can be devastating. It’s also surprising to see how many women each year are not attending cervical cancer screenings.

“We are particularly concerned about how young women suffering from cervical cancer are diagnosed. Delays in promptly diagnosing and treating cervical cancer can have terrible consequences and it is vital that doctors focus on the symptoms rather than the age of a woman when deciding whether or not it might be cancer.

“The work of charities such as the Mercedes Curnow Foundation and Jo’s Trust is crucial in raising awareness of the impact of cervical cancer. We hope that anyone concerned about any symptoms they may have makes sure they seek medical advice as soon as possible.”

Irwin Mitchell represented Sandra Cousins, the mother of the late Mercedes Curnow, who was just 23 when she died on 14th December 2011 from cervical cancer. After legal action was taken her GP has since admitted that they should have referred her to a specialist gynaecologist in January 2010 for a smear test, but instead the cancerous tumour was only found in April that year.

Mercedes’ family has set up the Mercedes Curnow Foundation for the Early Detection of Cervical Cancer which has seen tireless fundraising already to help support the family’s campaign.

Sandra said: “I strongly believe that had my daughter been given the option of a smear test when she first saw her GP, she would still be here today. Instead our pleas for help fell on deaf ears, and despite even acknowledging that a smear test may be appropriate when she saw her GP, it was four months later that the test was actually carried out.

“We were devastated by her death but it drove us on to continue the campaign on her behalf. Our legal case has now settled but we will continue our campaign as we cannot stand by why young women in a similar situation to our daughter are potentially being put at risk. This is a hugely important issue affecting thousands of people across the country and campaigns and awareness days are crucial to raising awareness of this awful cancer.”

Jo’s Trust is also launching a social media campaign encouraging people to take a selfie to raise awareness using the hashtag #SmearForSmear. For more information about Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, Mercedes Curnow Foundation and charity Jo’s Trust, please visit http://www.jostrust.org.uk/get-involved/campaign/cervical-cancer-prevention-week?gclid=CP6tmvyhoMMCFWLLtAodhSQArw and https://www.justgiving.com/mercedescurnowfoundation.

If you have suffered due to a delayed cervical cancer diagnosis or misdiagnosed cervical cancer, our medical negligence lawyers could help you claim compensation. Call 0808 163 4557 for a free initial consultation or see our Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims page for more details.