How Is Uterine Cancer Misdiagnosed?


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Receiving a cancer diagnosis is never easy, but it’s even more devastating when it’s discovered that the diagnosis was initially incorrect. Like many illnesses, cancer has better treatment outcomes when detected early. If you experienced a misdiagnosis of uterine cancer, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice case against the medical professionals who missed or made the wrong diagnosis of your condition.

How Is Uterine Cancer Usually Diagnosed?

Doctors use a variety of screenings and tests when diagnosing uterine cancer. Not all tests are used on all patients suspected of having uterine cancer. Doctors consider several factors when deciding which tests to perform. The factors include:

  • The type of cancer suspected
  • Signs and symptoms the patient is experiencing
  • Age and overall health of the patient
  • Results of any previous medical tests

After a physical examination, the following tests may be used to diagnose uterine cancer:

Pelvic examination. This is an internal examination of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum. A pap smear may be performed at this time.

Transvaginal ultrasound. A doctor or ultrasound technician examines the uterus by inserting an ultrasound probe into the vagina. If the endometrium is too thick, the doctor may order a biopsy.

Endometrial biopsy. An endometrial biopsy removes a small amount of tissue from the uterus to be examined under a microscope. A pathologist analyzes the tissue sample and diagnoses the disease. Endometrial biopsy is typically an accurate way to diagnose uterine cancer.

Dilation and curettage (D&C). This procedure involves extracting tissue samples from the uterus, typically conducted under anesthesia to alleviate pain. It’s often accompanied by a hysteroscopy, which allows the doctor to inspect the uterine lining using a light-equipped tube inserted through the cervix. A pathologist examines the tissue sample for indications of cancer cells, endometrial hyperplasia, and other potential conditions.

Following diagnostic testing, your doctor will discuss the results with you. If cancer is diagnosed, further tests will be conducted to determine the extent of its progression. Blood tests to assess overall health may be conducted. Additionally, your doctor may arrange one or more imaging tests such as CT scans, MRI scans, or PET-CT scans to determine if the cancer has metastasized beyond the uterus. The additional tests help classify the cancer by stage and grade, which helps determine the appropriate treatment plan.

What Are The Stages And Grades Of Uterine Cancer?

Understanding the stages and grades of uterine cancer will help your doctors determine how you should be treated.

Staging indicates the size of the cancer and whether it’s spread to other areas of the body. There are four stages of uterine cancers, which can be divided further into substages to indicate growing amounts of tumor.

  • Stage 1 (localized) – Cancer is found only in the uterus.
  • Stage 2 (regionalized) – Cancer has spread from the uterus to the cervix.
  • Stage 3 (regionalized) – Cancer has spread beyond the uterus and cervix to the vagina, fallopian tubes, ovaries, or pelvic and abdomen lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4 (advanced or metastatic) – Cancer has spread further, throughout the abdomen, to the bladder, bowel, or rectum, to other parts of the body (like the lungs or bones), or lymph nodes in the groin.

Grading uterine cancer tells how the cancer cells look compared to normal cells. It also estimates how quickly cancer is likely to grow.

  • Grade 1 – Cancer cells are slightly abnormal and are growing slowly.
  • Grade 2 – Cancer cells are moderately abnormal and are growing moderately.
  • Grade 3 – Cancer cells are even more abnormal and grow faster than lower grades.

How Does A Doctor Misdiagnose Uterine Cancer?

Doctors can misdiagnose uterine cancer for various reasons. Unfortunately, a misdiagnosis often leads to a delay in proper diagnosis and inadequate treatment. As a result, a misdiagnosis will likely negatively impact your health and increase the risk that it will spread to other parts of your body. The most common causes of uterine cancer misdiagnosis include:

Misread or Misinterpreted Test Results

Incorrectly reading or interpreting test results is one of the most common causes of misdiagnosing this cancer. Doctors might miss unusual cells during a pap smear, leading to a false negative result. Consistent screening tests and careful monitoring of any abnormal findings are essential.

Not Performing Appropriate Tests or Follow-ups

Even top healthcare providers might sometimes miss something during an examination or fail to follow up on a test. This oversight could lead to delayed diagnosis or inappropriate treatment, potentially jeopardizing your health.

Faulty or Malfunctioning Medical Equipment

While human error can be a factor in misdiagnosis, faulty medical equipment can also play a significant role. Malfunctioning equipment may result in poor imaging quality or erroneous test results, leading to incorrect diagnoses.

What Should You Do If Your Uterine Cancer Was Misdiagnosed?

Getting diagnosed with cancer is a major event that requires quick and correct diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, healthcare providers might wrongly diagnose uterine cancer because of carelessness or malpractice. If this has happened to you, knowing your legal options is important. In Pennsylvania, there are laws that protect patients from negligent medical care. By taking legal steps, you can hold healthcare providers responsible and help prevent wrong diagnoses from happening in the future.

Get Justice With Ross Feller Casey Uterine Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorneys

If you or a loved one faced a misdiagnosis of your uterine cancer due to a doctor’s negligence, it’s important to know that you might have the right to receive compensation for your injuries. While the compensation cannot reverse the effects of your misdiagnosis, it can help cover various costs, such as medical bills, lost income, and future medical expenses. In cases where the misdiagnosis led to the death of a family member, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to provide compensation to surviving family members.

The experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Ross Feller Casey in Philadelphia are here to assist you in seeking justice and holding the responsible doctor or hospital accountable for their error. We have the expertise and resources to win your case, as we have for others in your shoes. Contact our office today to schedule your free case evaluation. There is no cost to you until we win or settle your case.

About the Author

Jason W. Poore joined Ross Feller Casey in February 2021 and focuses his practice on representing clients who suffered catastrophic injuries due to medical malpractice, hospital negligence, defective products, and dangerous premises.

Jason Poore

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