Routine preventive care is the best way to maintain your health with time. If you wait to see a doctor, it may be too late to treat a problem. That’s why pap smears are a vital part of a women’s health checkup.
Pap smears are designed to test for cervical cancer in women. It involves collecting cells from the cervix, the opening to a woman’s uterus. The cells are then examined under a microscope. If abnormal cells are detected, your doctor is responsible for taking steps to figure out the culprit behind these changes and treat the condition before it turns into cancer. The earlier abnormal cells are detected, the better your chances are in halting the possible development of cervical cancer. That’s why a misread pap smear is not only dangerous – it can be deadly.
Earlier this year, a federal jury awarded $15.8 million to the family of Darian Wisekal. In 2008, Darian, a wife and mother of two, started to complain of pain and exhaustion. A doctor performed a pap smear, but the results came back negative. Doctors recommend getting a pap smear every two to three years, so two years later in 2010, Darian went in for her routine pap smear. Again, results came back negative.
A week later, Darian went to the hospital where doctors found a cervical tumor the size of an orange. A biopsy confirmed it was cancer. A year later, Darian passed away. She was 37 years old. Both in 2008 and 2010, Laboratory Corporation of America interpreted Darian’s pap smears. Had they properly performed Darian’s tests, she may still be alive today.
Early detection of cervical cancer is key. The best way to protect yourself is to stick to your regularly scheduled pap smears. Most doctors recommend pap smears be conducted every two years after the age of 21. If your results continue to come back negative, and you’re not feeling well, consult a different doctor. Although it’s not foolproof, it’s the best step to take in protecting yourself.
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