Smith, Meier & Webb, LPA

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: basic tests can make difference

January marks different things for many people. For many, it might be when their weight-loss resolution turns to action. For others, it simply means a new year and a fresh start. For all women, January should serve as a reminder of the risks of a certain kind of cancer.

Breast cancer gets a lot of much-needed attention. There is another cancer that poses danger specifically to women: cervical cancer. This month is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, a great time to arm our readers with knowledge about diagnosing the health condition and warn them of the dangers of misdiagnosis.

According to the CDC, all women who are between the ages of 21 and 65 should get regular Pap smears from their healthcare providers. An irregular test is a quick, simple way to spot early signs of cervical cancer. Another lab test is an accurate and easy way to diagnose cervical cancer. The condition is most often caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV); therefore, an HPV test can be done to identify a problem.

Ask for these tests if your doctor or clinic fails to remind you to get them. Your healthcare provider should be vigilant about giving you these tests, but your reminders can make a difference in your care and peace of mind. There is a relatively high survival rate for those who have cervical cancer, and early detection is a crucial component in getting patients the diagnosis and proper treatment they need to get better. 

A healthcare provider can derail a person's chance of healing and survival by failing to properly administer and evaluate tests. Failing to recommend certain follow-up tests and procedures can also negatively impact a patient's health. 

Someone who believes that their health was needlessly compromised by a failure or negligent act of a healthcare provider should work with a medical malpractice attorney who will listen. Doctors should be on our side and on the side of healing, but when they are not, your lawyer can be a source of needed support during a difficult time. 

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