Cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer for women under 35 in the UK. While 99.8% of cervical cancer cases in the UK are preventable, the disease only has a 63% 10-year survival rate post-diagnosis, according to research published by Cancer Research UK.
Cervical cancer can also cause issues with fertility, leaving many survivors requiring fertility treatment or entirely unable to become pregnant. For many women, especially those under the age of 35, infertility can be devastating.
Where cervical cancer is diagnosed quickly and the right treatment given, serious health consequences are usually avoidable. However, where cervical cancer is misdiagnosed or diagnosed late, infertility or even death may be unavoidable.
Why do delays in diagnosing cervical cancer increase the risk of infertility?
If cervical cancer is caught at an early stage, treatment may consist of a cone biopsy (where tissue is removed from the cervix) and radical trachelectomy (removal of the cervix). Both of these procedures preserve fertility.
If there are delays in identifying and treating cervical cancer (whether negligent or non-negligent) it is more likely that treatment will consist of a hysterectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and brachytherapy. These can cause infertility and is just one reason early diagnosis is so important. It is also why charities such as Jo’s Trust work tirelessly to raise awareness of the disease and the need for women to attend their smear test regularly.
Who can claim compensation for cervical cancer negligence?
If there has been a negligent delay in diagnosing cervical cancer which has resulted in more aggressive treatment than otherwise would have been required, and where fertility has or may be affected, it is our view that a claim may need to be investigated.
For many of our clients where fertility has been affected it is imperative that this is considered as part of any legal claim. This is because it may be possible to include fertility related costs for treatment like IVF as part of any claim for compensation.
Whilst we know that money cannot restore fertility, it may still be able to go some way to helping women achieve the family they wanted before any cancer diagnosis.
What compensation can you claim for misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of cervical cancer?
If you wish to bring a claim, we will always consider the emotional impact infertility may have had on you. We recognise that we may not be able to offer a solution immediately which is why we work alongside charities like Jo’s Trust to make sure you are offered the support you need alongside any legal action.
If we take on your case and can obtain an admission of liability from the defendant, interim payments can be sought to cover the cost of private counselling and fertility investigations where appropriate.
Can cervical cancer compensation be used to fund fertility treatment?
Some fertility treatments are available through the NHS to women facing infertility as a result of cervical cancer. However, there are certain criteria that women have to fulfill in order to be eligible. These criteria can vary from one NHS Trust to another and often only particular types of treatments can be covered. It may be that women wish to explore private fertility treatments, including surgical removal of eggs from the ovaries which can be extremely expensive.
In the case of XX v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust the claimant recovered the costs associated with commercial surrogacy in California. As specialist lawyers in this area we will assess each case and the circumstances of each carefully before advising you on the ability to recover these costs.
Get specialist legal help to claim compensation for misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of cervical cancer
As specialist cervical cancer solicitors, we know the impact this devastating disease can have. Whether you are faced with infertility due to negligent treatment of cervical cancer or have lost a loved one as a result of the disease being misdiagnosed or diagnosed late, claiming compensation make a real, practical difference to your quality of life and that of your loved ones.
If you have been affected by a delay in diagnosis of cervical cancer, please contact our specialist medical negligence solicitors to discuss your case by email at email@example.com.