Cervical cancer was once of the deadliest forms of cancer for American women, though the advancement of testing for the disease has led to a drop in numbers. But mishandling the crucial first steps of the process can quickly lead to an uphill battle.
There will be nearly 14,000 new cases of cervical cancer in the coming year, but the disease is also one of the most treatable when detected early. With testing playing such an important role in the successful treatment of cervical cancer, a correct diagnosis can make all the difference when it comes to your health.
Finding the proper path
A cancer diagnosis can be devastating, but getting it wrong can make matters even worse:
- Missed markers: The symptoms of cervical cancer usually center around the pelvic area. Excessive bleeding, discharge and pain in that area can be signs of the disease. Many things could share symptoms, but considering factors like a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection or family history of cervical cancer should point a physician in the right direction.
- Incomplete information: Before treating cervical cancer, a doctor will likely want to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Proper testing involves using methods like a Pap test that looks for abnormal cells, and follow-up scans to see how far the disease has progressed. Failing to order the proper tests, mishandling the execution or incorrectly interpreting the results can all lead to misdiagnosis.
- Short shrift: There are many ways you and your doctor could choose to approach your cancer treatment, but it all depends on how far along the disease is and other health issues you may have. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are all common ways to treat cervical cancer, but it can be difficult to reach the best plan to proceed without the proper diagnostic information.
Detection is key to understanding the size and scope of the cervical cancer affecting you. Your physician has a duty to you and your ongoing health, so make sure you know what counts as a misdiagnosis, and you could uncover if you’ve been getting the treatment you deserve.