The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

CDC: Doctors Overtesting for Cervical Cancer May Harm Patients

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that too many doctors are overtesting for cervical cancer in the wrong women or by using the wrong test. The government study indicates that doctors are not following medical industry guidelines when they perform checks for the cervical cancer-causing HPV virus. By not following these guidelines, the Associated Press reports that too many women are getting unnecessary tests.

According to the AP, 60 percent of doctors are wrongly administering a routine Pap-plus-HPV test to detect cervical cancer. Industry guidelines say that this test combination should only be given to women 30 years of age or older; however, 60 percent of the doctors polled by the CDC are giving this test combination to women much younger.

The AP reports that the problems with these additional, unnecessary tests are the financial burdens of the testing as well as long-term physical effects.

As a financial burden, the Pap-plus-HPV test combination usually costs women over $100 per test. While this may not sound like much, women are often administered these tests annually.

As a health risk, the AP reports that women under 30 who wrongly take the test combination are more likely to be misdiagnosed as being at risk for having cervical cancer. This misdiagnosis can lead to further invasive testing that can permanently harm a woman’s ability to bear children.

Doctors who continue to administer the routine Pap-plus-HPV test for cervical cancer to the wrong women may be either unaware or not appropriately concerned about the ramifications of their actions. Patients who have suffered harm from these tests may consider filing a medical malpractice claim against their doctors and seek compensation for any injuries.

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