Cancer negligence news

 

Brain injury acquired in childhood: when the signs of damage emerge years later

Nicola Anderson, associate - solicitor with Boyes Turner's specialist medical negligence team discusses what happens when the signs of a childhood brain injury effect adulthood.

What is acquired brain injury or ABI?

Brain injury occurring in childhood can be the result of a trauma, such as a fall or a blow to the head (a traumatic brain injury). Brain injury may also develop following an illness. Regardless of the cause, if there was a period of normal development before the brain was injured, this type of injury is called an acquired brain injury or ABI. 

Which illnesses can cause brain injury?

There are several types of illness which have the potential to cause damage to the brain. For example:

  • Meningitis (a swelling to the lining of the brain, caused by either a viral or bacterial infection);
  • A stroke (interruption to the blood supply to the brain);
  • A brain tumour;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Hypoglycaemia ( very low blood sugar levels).

Is a brain injury always obvious?

The answer is no, not always. On discharge from hospital, children may seem well in themselves and parents will be reassured that a good recovery has been made. If there are any immediate difficulties (for example fatigue, or problems with mobility), the symptoms may be subtle, or they may come and go. Alternatively, there may be no signs at all that the child has suffered a brain injury, with symptoms only becoming apparent years later as their brain develops, and the mental load placed upon them increases.

What are the symptoms of acquired brain injury?

There is no typical case. Every child, and every injury, is different. However, issues arising in childhood may include:

  • Physical problems such as reduced mobility, or difficulty with balance or coordination (for example, the child may appear clumsy);
  • Onset of epilepsy;
  • Impaired speech;
  • Hearing loss;
  • Visual disturbance;
  • Behavioural difficulties, such as defiance, or being impulsive;
  • Mental health problems, including depression and other emotional difficulties, for instance being quick to anger, or prone to anxiety;
  • Fatigue;
  • Difficulty concentrating, recalling information, planning, and learning in general;
  • Finding it difficult to make and maintain friendships.

Whilst this is only a summary of the difficulties children with acquired brain injury may experience, it highlights how diverse the symptoms can be, and how one symptom may feed in to another. For example, a child who is tired will struggle to learn. They may become frustrated by their slow progress and have frequent emotional outbursts, which may worsen during the teenage years. These outbursts will make it difficult for them to maintain relationships with others, both at home and at school, and their mental health may suffer. It is not surprising then that a child’s brain injury, caused years earlier during an acute illness, may be mistaken for other conditions, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia, or autism. The link with the long forgotten childhood illness may not be immediately apparent.

What should I do if I suspect my child has an acquired brain injury?

It is important to seek support early and to make others aware that your child may have an acquired brain injury. All mainstream schools will have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) responsible for identifying children with additional needs and they are likely to be a good first port of call, as are support organisations such as The Child Brain Injury Trust and Meningitis Now.

How can Boyes Turner help me secure support for my child within school?

The education team at Boyes Turner are experts in the law relating to Special Educational Needs (SEN). We can assist parents with matters relating to Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP’s) and securing support within schools.

Can my child claim financial compensation for their acquired brain injury?

It may be possible to bring a claim for financial compensation if it can be established that the child’s brain injury was caused, or contributed to, by the negligence of another, such as:

  • a doctor or hospital trust failing to correctly diagnose and/or correctly treat the initial illness, therefore causing, or increasing the risk of a brain injury (a medical negligence claim);
  • the driver of a vehicle causing a road traffic accident (a claim for personal injury);
  • a local authority, individual or company failing to safely maintain an environment, for example, a playground, or public park (again, a claim for personal injury).

Please do get in touch if you think your child may have a case and our specialist claims team can advise you further.

Are there time limits for bringing a claim?

There are time limits for bringing a claim.  

A child generally has until their 21st birthday to pursue a claim (three years after turning 18),  however, in some circumstances, it may be possible to bring a claim after this. To protect your child’s right to make a claim, advice should always be sought from a brain injury specialist solicitor as soon as possible.

If you are caring for a child who has suffered an acquired brain injury and you would like to find out more about making a claim, contact us by email at claimsadvice@boyesturner.com.

Delayed diagnosis of cancer - Can I make a claim?

According to cancer charity, Cancer Research, every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer. The NHS deals with over 350,000 new cases of cancer each year. Around a third of those are diagnosed via the ‘two-week-wait’ referral rule, a quarter following a routine or urgent GP referral, and a fifth are diagnosed (often at an advanced stage) after presenting as an emergency.

Cancer survival has doubled in the UK over the last 40 years, with significant variation in survival between cancer types. 89% of cancer patients in England rate their care as very good or excellent. There are National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines in place, designed to help doctors refer patients with suspected cancer earlier and more directly to the resources that can help them, with the aim of reducing delay between onset of symptoms, referral, diagnosis and treatment, but despite these measures, sadly, for a small minority of patients, unacceptable delays still occur with devastating consequences.

What type of cancer delays lead to compensation claims?

Some types of cancer (breast, cervical and bowel) are subject to national screening programmes which should identify abnormalities at an early stage.

Women aged 25 to 64 are invited to undergo cervical screening every three years. This is extremely valuable as abnormal cells can be detected early and then monitored or treated before these become cancerous. Early detection of potential cancers through screening saves lives. Where claims occur in these circumstances, they tend to arise when smear tests are misreported as being normal when in fact there are abnormalities, or when patients who need follow up or treatment are not notified or recalled.

All women aged 50 to 71 are also invited to undergo breast cancer screening every three years. If a woman has an increased risk of developing breast cancer, for example, due to her family history of the disease, she may be eligible for screening below the age of 50. Screening consists of an X-ray (mammogram). Mammograms can detect breast cancer early, possibly before there is a noticeable lump. Unfortunately, there have been instances of women not being invited to attend breast cancer screening, misreading of mammograms and failure to call patients who are identified as having abnormalities for treatment.

If a person starts experiencing symptoms that could be suggestive of cancer it is important that their GP recognises their potential cancer symptoms and makes the appropriate referral for investigation or treatment. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has produced guidelines for GPs to follow that clarify when a person should be referred to a specialist for further investigations. These are very effective, but we continue to see clients who have attended their GP on a number of occasions, sometimes over a considerable period of time, complaining of potential cancer symptoms before their concerns are acknowledged and they are finally referred, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment of their cancer.

How is claim arising from a delay in diagnosis and treatment of cancer valued?

There is no set compensation award for a claim of this type, so each case is valued according to our client’s own circumstances. It is important to understand that any injury arising from the disease itself, which the patient would still have suffered even if she had been promptly diagnosed and properly treated, will not be compensated. A successful claim will provide compensation for the additional physical and often psychological injury and financial loss that the patient suffered as a result of the negligent delay in diagnosis, the failure to treat promptly or the pain and side effects of the more radical treatment that was only required owing to the progression of the disease during the negligent delay.

How is pain and suffering compensated?

The claim includes a payment for ‘general damages’ which reflects the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by the GP or hospital’s negligence. This aspect of the damages award generally follows guidelines which are based on what the court has previously ruled as an appropriate level of compensation for that type and severity of injury.

Are my financial losses also compensated?

‘Special damages’ is the name given to the aspect of the award which compensates for ‘out of pocket’ expenses that the patient has actually paid or financial losses that they have suffered as a result of the delay in diagnosis.

What other types of injury or loss are commonly claimed in a delayed diagnosis or treatment of cancer case?

Discussed below are some common losses arising from delays in the diagnosis or treatment of cancer. This is not an exhaustive list and depends on the individual client’s own experience, the nature and severity of their additional injury and their financial circumstances. We work with each client to understand how the negligent delay has affected them. We may also instruct experts to comment on specific items listed below, for example which aids and equipment would be of benefit or which adaptations to property are required.

  • Additional Treatment
    The pain, injury or disability caused by additional or more radical treatment and the costs associated with it are considered when assessing this aspect of the claim.

    If there is a delay in diagnosing cancer the affected person may have experienced treatment that would not have been required if the cancer had been picked up at an earlier stage. Delays in diagnosis of cancer can lead to more intrusive and significant surgical procedures than would have been the case had it been recognised earlier.

    Early treatment for cervical cancer may consist of a cone biopsy (where tissue is removed from the cervix) and/or trachelectomy (removal of the cervix) but progression of the disease during a delay in diagnosis might mean that the patient needs a radical hysterectomy, which would otherwise not have been necessary. Not only is this a more significant procedure with more risks of complications and longer recovery time, but it results in the woman becoming infertile. In these circumstances we would consider not only the impact of more intrusive surgery, but the emotional/psychological impact and costs arising from infertility.

    Delays in diagnosis of cervical cancer can lead to a person undergoing chemoradiotherapy and brachytherapy which, again, could have been avoided if signs of the condition had been picked up at an earlier stage.

    If breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment may consist of a lumpectomy, a breast-conserving surgical treatment in which the tumour (but not the breast) is removed. In more advanced stages, treatment may be mastectomy, which is removal of the whole breast as well as reconstruction. If delay in diagnosis has led to a mastectomy where, but for the negligence, a lumpectomy would have been offered, the impact of the more intrusive surgery will be reflected in the value of the claim.  Delays in diagnosis of breast cancer can also lead to the woman requiring chemotherapy which would not have been required if the cancer had been identified at an earlier stage.

    Not only do these more intrusive treatments have a significant impact on the person at the time, but the long-term consequences can be devastating. The claim takes into account past, ongoing, and future costs and consequences arising from additional treatment.
     
  • Loss of Earnings and Pension

    If a person has had to take time off unpaid, take a pay cut to change jobs, or cut down on hours as a result of treatment undergone as a result of the delay in diagnosis there will be a claim for net loss of earnings and pension.
     
  • Care and Assistance

    A loved one may have had to take time off work to care for someone during and/or after treatment that could have been avoided if cancer had been identified sooner. In this case there will be a claim for their time. Professional carers may also need to be employed either in the short or longer term to assist a person with care needs arising from additional injury caused by their delayed cancer diagnosis.
     
  • Medical Expenses

    These include the cost of prescriptions and also the cost of any therapies that may be of benefit, possibly including physiotherapy and/or occupational therapy.
     
  • Travel Expenses

    The costs of travel to and from medical appointments which are required as a result of the delay in diagnosis, for example, can be claimed.
     
  • Aids and Equipment

    An expert may be appointed to comment on any aids and equipment which might be of benefit.
     
  • Adaptations to Property

    The consequences of delayed diagnosis and treatment of cancer can lead to long term disability. Where our experts believe that our client’s home needs adaptation to suit our client’s disability, [for example to provide a more accessible bathroom if bowel and/or bladder function are impaired] the reasonable costs of these adaptations can be claimed. 
     
  • Psychological counselling

    Severe, life-threatening injury, fear of recurrence of the cancer and the intensely personal nature of the disability caused by delayed cancer diagnosis and treatment can be very difficult to come to terms with. In these circumstances some people need psychological help to overcome anxiety or adjustment disorders, depression and PTSD. Where our experts believe that our client would benefit from counselling we are often able to recover the costs of such treatment as part of the claim.
     
  • Loss of dependency and bereavement

    Where negligent delay has caused someone’s death, we can help the bereaved and dependent spouse and children obtain compensation for their loss of dependency and other claimable losses.

If you have suffered severe injury or have been bereaved as a result of delays in  cancer diagnosis or treatment and would like to find out more about making a claim, contact us by email at mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Can I claim surrogacy costs after negligent cervical cancer?

Delays in diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer can be fatal or can result in the need for radical treatment with ongoing side-effects such as pain, premature menopause, impaired bowel and urinary function, painful sexual intercourse, fear of recurrence and psychological damage.

What side-effects from late-treated cervical cancer can be compensated?

We can usually help clients recover compensation for these aspects of their injury but we know from our clients that one of the consequences of late-treated cervical cancer that they find most difficult to come to terms with is loss of their fertility, particularly in younger women who were hoping to have their first or further children in the future. Whilst fertility treatment options are available, such as IVF treatment, some women are not suitable for such treatment and, if they are to have a child of their own, need to have a surrogate.

Until recently, whilst it was possible to recover compensation for many aspects of a late-treated cervical cancer injury, it was not possible under English law to claim for the costs of surrogacy which was needed owing to infertility caused by the delay in treatment for cervical cancer. This left many seriously injured women without an effective remedy for one of the  most distressing consequences of their injury.

How has the law changed to compensate for surrogacy costs?

In 2018 there was a development in the law which opened the way for surrogacy costs to be successfully claimed where a woman has been left infertile as a result of a delay in diagnosing cervical cancer.

The medical negligence case of XX v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust concerned a young woman of 29 whose diagnosis of cervical cancer was negligently delayed by four years. As a result of the delay, she needed more radical treatment than she would have had if her condition had been properly managed. She underwent chemo-radiotherapy which caused irreparable damage to her uterus and ovaries. The woman and her partner wished to have their own biological children using a surrogate. To do this they wanted to go to the USA for surrogacy treatment and, therefore, wished to claim the costs of this.

When the case first came to court, the injured woman was awarded the costs of UK-based surrogacy for two pregnancies but was refused the additional costs associated with surrogacy in the USA. She successfully appealed the court’s decision and was awarded the costs of undergoing surrogacy in the USA.

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence specialists have helped many severely injured women and bereaved families recover compensation following misdiagnosed, delayed or incorrectly treated cervical cancer. We understand the emotional, psychological and physical damage that these injuries cause to the women and their families and welcome this recent development in the law which we hope will open the way for more women in this situation to begin to rebuild their lives by being able to have a child.

If you have suffered serious injury or family bereavement as a result of negligent diagnosis or treatment of cervical cancer and would like to find out more about making a claim, contact us by email at mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Five child amputees who went on to become successful athletes

Losing a limb is a life changing occurrence. For many amputees, the ordinary activities of everyday life have to be re–thought and re–learned. Child amputees, in particular, require long term support to enable them to regain their confidence and mobility, and to adapt to life after amputation.

Artificial limbs or prosthetics can make a big difference. Finding the right prosthetic increases mobility and independence and, generally leads to a better quality of life. 

Appropriate prosthetic care can also help children get back to playing sports that they may have enjoyed before their amputation. Some go on to become athletes, inspiring others with similar injuries by the way they have overcome the limitations that are often associated with their disability. Here are five examples of child amputees who went on to accomplish remarkable things as athletes, with the help of prosthetics.

Jonnie Peacock

Jonnie Peacock is a 100 metre sprinter and won gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. At the age of five, he contracted meningitis which attacked the tissues in his right leg and led to him being in an induced coma. His right leg had to be amputated below the knee.

He ran his first international race in May 2012 and set a new world record for an amputee in the 100 metres only a month later. He then competed in the Paralympics later that year and won gold, setting a new Paralympic record in the process. He then successfully defended his title in the 2016 Paralympics, winning gold again.

In this interview from 2016 he talks about some of the issues he has had with his prosthetic limb while training and how his prosthetist has made adjustments which have helped. This illustrates the importance of finding a prosthetist you trust and with whom you can communicate openly and honestly.

Richard Browne

One of Jonnie Peacock’s great rivals in the Paralympics is American sprinter, Richard Browne. Aged 16, a freak accident sent him through a plate glass window after slipping in the rain, which resulted in an arterial bleed. After 14 operations, his right leg had to be amputated below the knee.

In 2013, he broke Jonnie Peacock’s world record. He won gold medals at the 2013 and 2015 world championships and won silver at the 2012 Paralympics.

Aimee Mullins

Aimee Mullins is an American athlete, actress and model who was born with a medical condition that resulted in the amputation of both her lower legs when she was just a year old.

With the help of prosthetics, she did not allow her limb loss to stop her playing sports and competing against her able – bodied counterparts. After winning a scholarship to Georgetown University, she competed against able-bodied athletes in NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division One track and field events, and is one of the first female amputees in history to compete in the NCAA. She was the first amputee in history (male or female) to compete in Division One NCAA track and field. She went on to compete in the 100 metre sprint and the long jump at the Paralympics in 1996. Since then, she has gone on to have successful careers in modelling and acting. She is currently in the new Netflix series, Stranger Things with Winona Ryder.

Jessica Long

Jessica Long is an American Paralympic swimmer. She was born in Siberia as Tatiana Olegovna Kirillova, before being adopted aged 13 months. Her lower legs were amputated as a result of fibular hemimelia when she was 18 months old. She was fitted with prosthetic limbs and soon began swimming in her grandparents’ pool.

She burst onto the international stage in 2004, winning three gold medals at the Paralympics in Athens. She was aged only 12 at the time. She now has 23 Paralympic medals and has held five world records.

Kelly Cartwright

Kelly Cartwright is an Australian athlete, competing in the 100 metres and long jump. When she was fifteen, she had a form of cancer called synovial sarcoma. Part of her right leg had to be amputated due to the cancer and she started using a prosthetic leg while in high school.

She competed at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics. In 2012, she won a gold medal in the long jump and a silver medal in the 100 metres. She also set a world record in the 100 metres while winning the world championships in 2011.

In 2009, she accomplished the remarkable feat of climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

It takes time and courage to come to terms with amputation. Childhood amputation, in particular, affects the whole family. For many, the emotional and physical healing process also requires professional help.

Where the amputation was caused by negligence or an accident that was someone else’s fault, our amputation experts are on hand to advise and may be able to secure financial compensation for prosthetics and other specialist equipment and vehicles and for necessary adaptations to the family home. In the absence of a claim or if you’re just looking for amputation-related information and friendly support, Limbcare are a great charity who can provide support and information needed to help amputees and their families. Many of their volunteers are amputees, so have gone through the journey themselves. 

If you or a family member has suffered an amputation after an accident we may be able to help. Get in touch with a member of our experienced personal injury claims team to discuss making a claim by emailing them at piclaims@boyesturner.com.

Can cervical cancer make you infertile?

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 mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Cervical cancer - Why bring a claim?

The impact of a delay in a diagnosis of cervical cancer can be life changing for all involved – for the individual undergoing treatment, and for their family and friends who support them and provide care and assistance during their recovery. 

At Boyes Turner we are aware of not only the long-term effects a delay in diagnosis of cervical cancer can have, but of the restricting effects of its treatment - from fatigue and the acute pain of primary treatment, to its long standing psychological and physical effects.  

A previous client of Boyes Turner has described her journey through brachytherapy (internal radiotherapy) and chemotherapy and the long-lasting effects of the treatment on her.

In the difficult time following a diagnosis of cancer which has been caused by negligent medical delays, it can be hard to decide whether to make a claim for compensation. Everyone’s circumstances are different and the best way to find out is to talk it through, confidentially and at no cost, with one of our experienced and understanding specialist solicitors.

Generally speaking, there might be several good reasons for pursuing a claim.

  • Following a delay in diagnosis, an individual might require specialist treatment, ongoing medication, or specific aids and equipment. The exact nature of the injury, will often determine exactly what treatment requirements will be. Where liability for the delay has been admitted a claim, even in the early interim stages, can help meet these additional costs.
  • People who are undergoing cancer treatment often require care and assistance with their day to day living. This can carry on even after they have been cleared of cancer, especially in cervical cancer cases where there can be longstanding after-effects from the treatment. A successful legal claim will allow for a sum of money to compensate the carer for the care and assistance provided to date, and may provide for such future care as is necessary.
  • Many people often find themselves having to reduce their working hours, either temporarily during their treatment period, or permanently if there are ongoing symptoms. We can help recover lost earnings to reduce worry about financial hardship.
  • In cases where cervical cancer results in a fatality, bereaved families may suffer extreme hardship from the loss of their former loved one’s income. Even if the deceased mother didn't work, her loss will be greatly felt by her dependant family. Whilst nothing can adequately replace the loss of a mother or wife, compensation to help with household services can help keep family life running at this difficult time.

If you or a family member have suffered serious injury as a result of delayed diagnosis of cancer call our specialist medical negligence solicitors by email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Jade Goody: A legacy lost?

Across the UK, cervical screening coverage has fallen in the last year, which means that more than 1.2 million women are not taking up their invitation for smear tests.

The uptake for cervical smears is now at its lowest for 20 years, with take up having fallen across every age in almost all local authorities in England, most worryingly amongst those aged 25 to 49 years.

Sadly, the medical negligence team at Boyes Turner know all too well the impact a delay in diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer can have.  We represent clients who have experienced a delay in recognising abnormal smear results and which in turn results in delays in treatment. As a result of the delays, women need more extensive treatment and the long term prognosis can be adversely affected.

During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week we were pleased to support the work that Jo’s Trust and other cervical cancer charities are undertaking to raise awareness about the implications that a delay in diagnosis of cervical cancer can have. 

The #SmearforSmear campaign seeks to alleviate the concerns many women have about attending a smear, and to reassure them about the process, whilst highlighting the importance of a timely diagnosis.

In 2008, Big Brother star, Jade Goody, announced her cervical cancer diagnosis at the age of just 27, and she died a year later in March 2009. Her openness about her fight against cervical cancer, and her bravery in speaking out about it, brought the message home to young woman across the country, and emphasised the importance of regularly going for a smear. However, Jo’s Trust recently reported that the recent figures suggest that the effect of her openness about her diagnosis and the impact a delay in diagnosis can have has long gone.

Cervical cancer remains one of the most common cancers in woman under 35 but it is also largely preventable with HPV vaccination and treatable with early diagnosis. With one in three young women failing to attend their smear test, the campaigning work of charities like Jo’s Trust is more important than ever. By raising awareness about cervical cancer and the implications of a delay in diagnosis, and encouraging women to attend their smear tests we can help bring an end to this devastating disease.

If you or a family member has suffered medical negligence in relation to cancer we may be able to help. Contact us on 0800 884 0718 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial discussion.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week - RCOG call for increased screening uptake

During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, Boyes Turner welcome the FSRH (Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists) and RCOG’s call for urgent action to increase cervical screening attendance rates.

If you’ve been following Jo’s Trust’s campaign #SmearForSmear you’ll already know the importance and the benefits of regular cervical screening in reducing your risk of cancer. However, NHS Digital have reported that attendance for free, NHS cervical screening during NHS Cervical Screening Programme 2016-17 was at its lowest in 20 years. Whilst increasing numbers of women are being invited for screening, the uptake in the highest risk age group of 25 to 49-year-olds was only 69.6%.

Suggested reasons for the low attendance rate include local authority budget-driven cuts reducing the number of local settings in which cervical screening is offered, such as SRH clinics. Meanwhile, overburdened GPs are missing opportunities to catch those who have missed out by offering opportunistic appointments for screening at their surgeries.

These additional barriers are simply compounding the problem already encountered with existing barriers (such as fear, lack of awareness) which charities like Jo’s Trust are working so hard to overcome, making it more important than ever to raise awareness of the life-saving benefits of attending your appointment and having your smear.

Early detection of abnormal cells is the key to the avoidance of cervical cancer, along with HPV vaccination among pre-teen and teenage girls.

When left undetected and untreated, cervical cancer not only causes death, but leaves its survivors with lifelong physical, emotional and psychological injury.

Join us and Jo’s Trust, this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, in urging female friends and family to #ReduceYourRisk and join us in promoting cervical cancer prevention by posting your lipstick #SmearForSmear selfie. For details on how to get involved, click here.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week - Reducing the Risk of HPV

During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week Boyes Turner are supporting cervical cancer charity, Jo’s Trust, in raising awareness about cervical cancer. The theme of this year’s prevention week is “Reduce Your Risk”, and that of those you care for, by understanding how this devastating condition can be recognised, treated and prevented. 

We now know that the vast majority of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV, or the human papilloma virus, an infection passed on by any form of sexual contact. So, let’s be clear about a few facts at the outset:

  • 80% of people will be infected with a genital HPV infection at some time in their lives.
  • Your first or only sexual contact with anyone at all can put you at risk.
  • HPV infection does not imply sexual promiscuity or infidelity.

The problem with HPV is that, whilst it is very common, it is a symptomless infection. It can go undetected in the body for many years. Some people’s strong immune systems enable them to clear themselves naturally of HPV. It is not known why some people’s bodies can and others’ can’t. In those who clear the infection, it can take about 12 to 18 months. Smoking is also known to inhibit the body’s ability to clear itself of HPV. When most people with HPV are unaware that they have been infected, it is not surprising that the infection is so widespread. It should be noted that merely having HPV does not in itself warrant treatment, but the silent yet prevalent existence of the infection makes screening for cervical cancer all the more important.

Most forms of HPV are harmless but some high-risk strains can cause changes in the cells of the cervix which, if undetected and treated, will ultimately lead to cervical cancer. If a smear test reveals abnormal cells and high-risk HPV you may be recalled for further examination.

Jo’s Trust estimates that 70% of cervical cancers are caused by just two high-risk types of HPV, both of which can now be prevented (in people who have not previously been infected) by HPV vaccinations which are currently available to girls on the NHS. In 2008 the NHS introduced free, routine HPV immunisation for girls aged 12 to 13, in the hope of protecting them from HPV before they become sexually active. Offered in schools but also available through GP surgeries, the vaccines are over 98% effective in preventing cervical abnormalities associated with the two high-risk HPV strains in women who have the full dose, and in preventing infection with new strains or reinfection of a cleared HPV. They are not effective where the person is already infected with HPV, which is why the NHS is offering immunisation to girls at such a young age.

With research indicating that the HPV vaccine could prevent two thirds of cervical cancers in women under the age of 30 by 2025, assuming 80% take-up of the vaccination, which is now being consistently achieved, there is good reason for optimism that we will succeed in overcoming this devastating condition.

Join us and Jo’s Trust, this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, in urging female friends and family to #ReduceYourRisk and join us in promoting cervical cancer prevention by posting your lipstick #SmearForSmear selfie. For details on how to get involved, click here.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2018 - Join us in supporting Jo's Trust's awareness campaign #SmearForSmear

From 22nd to 28th January Boyes Turner will be joining cervical cancer charity, Jo’s Trust, in urging women to #ReduceYourRisk - the theme of this year’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week campaign - support the campaign by sharing your #SmearForSmear lipstick selfies to raise awareness.   

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35, with 3,000 new cases diagnosed and 800 deaths from the disease in the UK each year. That’s two women dying each day from a disease that could be prevented in 75% of cases by cervical screening that is routinely available on the NHS for free.

A smear test only takes a few minutes once every three years for women aged 25 to 49 who, by virtue of their age, are most likely to develop cervical cancer, and every five years for women of 50 to 64. For women over 65, routine screening is only available to those who have had abnormal previous tests or who haven’t undergone screening from the age of 50. Every woman who is registered with a GP should be invited for screening. Yet the NHS reports that more than 1.2 million women could be risking their lives by not having a smear test, as attendance for cervical screening has dropped in the last year, leaving test rates the lowest that they have been for two decades.

Whilst the smear test only takes minutes, the impact of cervical cancer can last a lifetime - leaving partners and children bereaved and its treated survivors devastated by side-effects, such as infertility, premature menopause, impaired bowel and urinary function, painful sexual intercourse, fear of recurrence, pain and psychological damage.

Join us and Jo’s Trust, this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, in urging female friends and family to #ReduceYourRisk and join us in promoting cervical cancer prevention by posting your lipstick #SmearForSmear selfie. For details on how to get involved, click here.

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