The key to ensuring the highest possible survival rate for all cancers is early diagnosis. Late diagnosis of a cancer dramatically decreases your chances of survival. For example, patients who are diagnosed with early stage colorectal cancer have an 89.7% 5-year survival rate, which drops to 10.8% if the cancer is diagnosed in a late stage, based on the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database. This is also the reason why death rates for cervical cancer have dropped dramatically in the United States. The invention of the Pap smear and near-universal screening have allowed those at risk for cervical cancer to be detected early, and receive life-saving treatment. For cervical cancer, the 5-year survival rate is 91.7% if detected early, but only 16.6% if detected late, and early screening has roughly halved the mortality rate of this cancer since the 1950s.
Now researchers believe they have discovered a new form of cervical cancer screening that may be even more effective than Pap smears. The new test involves genetic screening for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is a necessary precursor for cervical cancer. According to a study comparing Pap smears, DNA tests, and other screening methods among over 130,000 women in India, the DNA screening decreased mortality due to cervical cancer by a third over the Pap smear. This may be because women had to return to a doctor to learn the results of a Pap smear, while the DNA results were immediately available. Another important factor, though, is that the DNA test seems to have a 100% detection rate. No woman who received a negative DNA test died from cervical cancer. This led the study’s authors to conclude that DNA testing could be conducted only once every ten years, but the American Cancer Society said screening should probably be conducted at least every five years, even with the new test. Although vaccination for the HPV may make screening redundant for many women, this new test could further reduce the incidence of late stage diagnosis for cancer.
With the variety of screening techniques available, there is no excuse for late diagnosis medical malpractice. If your doctor failed to detect cancer in you or your loved one at an early stage and you or your loved one has suffered through invasive cancer treatments or death as a result, you deserve compensation for your injury. Please schedule a free, no-obligation medical malpractice consultation with Columbus, Ohio law firm Robert W. Kerpsack CO., L.P.A. today.