smears incorrectly reported



This is my fist time on here, i was diagnosed with Cervical cancer in February 2011.  I had never missed a smear and ended up having a hystorectomy and have been cacner free since then  Im 33 now.  I was aware that you are meant to be offered the results of your cervical cancer audit but i was never given this opportunity and still now am struggling to find out the audit findings.  I decided last year to get a solicitor to get invoved with my case due to the care that i had, on Friday i found out that a smear in 2006 was reported as negative when in fact it should have meant i had an urgentt coloscopy.  I also had a smear in 2007 which again was wrongly reported negative but if it had been read correctly i would have also got reffered.   I therefore probably didnt need to go through all of this and could have been treated before it developed into cancer.

  I wondered if anyone else has had trouble getting hold of their audit which would have highlighted this or if anyone else has found out their smears were incorrectly reported?  I always knew something was wrong and non of the health proffessionals believed me as they said your smear was clear and they wouldnt do another one.  It has really upset me finding out all this as it drags up all the feelings you had at the time and it reminds you of everything you and your family had to go through.


I would love to hear form anyone who has had a similar experience.


Hello Daisy,  I'm not sure that my situation is similar but I do have questions about how I was treated. I am considering contacting a solicitor to find out for me if I have a case of possibly neglect.  I don't know the ins & outs of NHS guidelines for smear tests etc so I don't know if there's a case to answer but I can't get some things out of my head and I will have to have them resolved one way or another.  I wasn't aware that you could get a copy of an audit, do you get this from your own GP? Please let me know.

My first 'dodgy' smear was in June 2011, 'cell changes' was all I was told by GP, come back in 6 months for repeat.  The repeat i was also told by GP was still showing  'cell changes' - no details other than that, not what kind of changes, mild moderate or otherwise.  She put me on 6 months of internal hormone treatment then I was to have another smear.  When I had this smear in June 2012 it showed 'abnormal cells'.  At this point I was referred to Colposcopy.  In the meantime I saw another Doctor at my surgery and he told me, and I quote 'this is not cancer, this is the stage before the stage before cancer! ''

Colposcopy appointment was 4 months later in October 2012.  All went well and the Colposcopist said my cervix looked 'good' etc, did a sweep then said she'd send it off for analysis but as everything looked ok she didn't expect to see me again for results, they'd be posted out.  However, 2 weeks later I got a phonecall at work to ask me if I could come in to see her to discuss results.  I knew something was up.  I went to see her & she confirmed CC.

Fast forward to surgery - radical hyst in which I asked the surgeon to take ovaries as I'd had memopause.  Everything was sent for analysis as is normal practice.  Results 2 weeks later confirmed that cancer cells had spread to ovaries.  If I'd not had them out they'd never have known,  'til later.........

Now, my mind is telling me that if I'd been referred to colp. after 2nd smear, the cancer wouldn't have spread to my ovaries and I wouldn't have had to have chemo, radio & brachy and my chances would have  been much better.  My question is, what are the NHS guidelines for referral, should I have been referred at 2nd smear, did GP follow guidelines, was  the hormone treatment the correct course of action.  Also, if they're only 'guidelines' and they weren't followed, ie the GP put me on hormone treatment instead,   I don't have a case.

If anyone reading this can answer any of my queries, please,please do.



Hello.. I would also like to know how you get an audit if your previous smears. Mine have always been ok. I need to know for my own piece of mind how I went from a clear smear to stage 1b1 in 2 & half years.



Hi Sharon and Kea, 


Thanks for your replies.

I would say that for both of you and anyone else in a similar position it is important to get hold of your audit.  You are meant to be offered it, that is the national guidelines and it would usually be around 6 months after treatment i believe.  However in my case and clearly others we are not being offered it.  It basically will go through your smears again and all the treatment you had and basically will highlight if you have had any failings.  I have been so annoyed that i still havent had it my solicitor has now requested it.   I havent had it back yet but she seems to get things a hell of a lot quicker than i can.

I hope this is helpful to you both and for you own piece of mind it is worth finding out if you recieved the correct care and treatment. 




My smear was eventually in 2010 and this showed up abnormalities.  After a colposcopy i had some cervix removed under GA, i was diagnosed with 1a1 cancer.  It was also glandular and i always thought and was told it was a lucky find so was utterly amazed to see two smears reported as normal when they werent.  If you are in any doubt i would speak to a solicitor and they will advice you.


If you google national cervical cancer audit you should get more information as all results are published online and it does highlight in a high proportion of patients their smears have been wrongly read.  It is a shame that health care proffessionals take more notice of the smear result than the actual patient and thier symptoms.

Hi, my smear audit is underway at the moment and I think it's going to be a while before I get answers. I fully expect mine to come back as incorrectly reported as I was on 6 monthly then annual smears after colposcopy 5 years ago- all came back clear until the summer when it turned out to be full blown cancer. To add to that, I was displaying cervical cancer symptoms at the end of 2012 and in Jan 2013 I saw a gynae who dismissed the cause as cervical erosion and cryo cauterised the area. I now have a solicitor looking at my case.

Sharon, could you contact the PALS dept for your local nhs trust to see if they will tell you the guidelines? Or look on the Nice website.

Jade xx

Dear All, I have not commented on this forum before as my situation is no where near as far down the line as many. However, as I am a lawyer (albeit not in medical negligence) I thought I might have something useful to add to this thread. If people are finding out that smears have been incorrectly reported, then there is a pretty good case for negligence which has caused loss i.e. has led to later diagnosis and continued progression of cell changes which could otherwise have been treated, and cancer potentially prevented or treated at a much earlier stage. The level of recoverable damages could be several thousand pounds. The NHS understandably do not want people to find out these things so you have to persist in getting disclosure of your records. Also, something I recently found out is that if you are concerned about a smear or colposcopy and want a second opinion, you are entitled to one on the NHS for free. This is also something not publicized widely.

Daisy - in your case there seem to have been clear reporting errors and I see you have a solicitor looking into the matter. Bogeywoman - my understanding of the guidance (but you need to check what was in force in 2011) was that if you have 2 repeat abnormal smears, you should be referred to colposcopy. Instead you had to wait a further 6 months and then a further 4 months for the colposcopy which in itself seems a long time. You might want to consider looking into the matter further. You have 6 years to issue a claim.

If I can be of any help, send me a message. As I say, I do not specialise in medical negligence but know good people who do.

Hello Pegasus, I'm probably a bit thick here - what does PALS stand for & the Nice website, never heard of these?


just googled it, got it now!

Sorry only just seen this Sharon, glad you found them

Jade x

Interesting posts ladies.  My smears have always been normal until this last one in November and then diagnosis in December of 1B1.  I bleed on my last smear in 2010 and something is ringing a bell with me now.  When I first got told I had abnormal cells in November, the gynae consultant was asking if I had any symptoms - which there were none. However, I do recall now telling her that I bled on my last smear test in 2010. Now I think back she did say that should have been picked up at the time as it could indicate changes and should have been picked up at that point. Because everything has been such a whirlwind since diagnosis in December with op in January, it is only now that I have had time to think about it. Have made a note on my calander to request my audit once I am six months.  Please keep us all posted as I too struggle with how I can go from having normal smears to cancer.  Looks like it is just another battle we have to fight!!  Good luck to all with this one SL xxx

Hi ladies, 


Unfortunately I often read and run and don't often leave advice or comments on this forum which I'm sorry for, however this is too close to me to not.


Firstly anyone diagnosed with cervical cancer has an audit ran on the last 10years of their smear history, however at time of diagnosis you are normally asked if you want to know the results of the audit or not, regardless of your answer the audit is still ran, now at anytime you can request if you haven't already the results of the audit, for me I wanted the results straight away, for those probably more in advanced stages of  CC , I can understand why you may not want to know the audit, you've been diagnosed and it's advance, what difference will it make knowing the reason behind it? 


For me I had to know, I was only ion the early stages but knew as cliche as it sounds I knew there was a reason behind why I had got CC.  So I had had 3 previous smears before my official diagnosis first one normal, second one normal, third one high grade severe dyskarosis, now ok I'm never on time for most things and put of having my smears on time because they were painful, and I would bleed. My first smear although painful and I bleed was just done on a whim when I had been sent my letter, and resulted as normal,  my second was also done on a whim but about 6months after I was due and because I kept getting post coitol bleeding, from here the GP had said she would do the smear which she noted I bleed heavily at whilst performing smear and send me to gynae depending on the results to be be investigated for the bleeding, the smear came back as normal so she sent me  to gynae as the report had said, if still getting post coitol bleeding a referral to gynae should be warranted as smear normal, off I went to gynae who literally looked for two seconds with just a normal speculum no colposcopy and said I had erosion of the cervix and it was down to the pill and there was nothing to worry about, if I kept getting the bleeding and it was becoming a nuisance I could haves one laser treatment or change my pill which might help, I opted to do nothing as I had been re-assured it was all normal and nothing to worry about, the post coitol bleeding persisted but I just knew that it was "normal" so my next smear in was nearly 6 months late for again, just decided one day that I would have it done, I had it done and again still bled after it, thought nothing more of it until I got called in to see the nurse who told me I had been referred from the lab straight to colposcopy urgently as I had high grade severe dyskarosis, I guess in my heart I knew at that point it wasn't going to go simply.


So I went to colposcopy had a biopsy and LLETZ treatment and the consultant told me " it was more than likely just CIN 111 and that the treatment would contain it and eradicate it, I'd be surprised it if came back as cancer" 


Low and behold 1 week and 6 day us later I get a call from the Macmillan nurse asking to go and see the consultant the following morning and to bring someone with me, I knew it wasn't good news and sure enough I get told it was stage 1b , I was told I'd more than likelyv have a trachelectomy as my biopsy results didn't have clear margins, and LLETZ would not be advisable, I was also told that because I had not yet started a family that they would give me the trachelectomy but even if I had one child they would have opted for a hysterectomy! I was 27 at this point then they told me I would have an audit ran on my results and did I want to know the results? Erm hell yes! I was told it was a lengthy and long process but I would have the results as soon as possible. 


Every appointment I had I asked when I would get the results, every time I rang and spoke to my CNS I was told it was in the process I even emailed both my CNS and consultant on several occasions, and I was ways told it's been sorted. Eventually 18 months later I had kind of given up, then a letter popped through the doors saying they had my results and wanted to see me to discuss them, so I had an appointment and that's when they told me that my second smear when rechecked had actually shown moderate dyskarosis! 


The appointment was filled with rage, anger questions they tried not answer and emotions I never knew I had, the meeting  involved a consultant I had never met, the head of pathology and one of my CNS, I asked the question that if my second smear had been reported properly then would I have had treatment that would have either caught the cancer even earlier or prevented the cancer altogether? I was fobbed off with the answer of the type of cancer you got is found on cells higher up in the cervix so smears don't find or prevent that cancer anyway! I challenged them again, and told they understand and that who knows if I would have got cancer anyway! 


I also asked where do I go from here? They had no answer for me when I asked if was there daughter, sister, mother what would they now do I was again fobbed off with they can't answer as they have a clinical answer. 


I left it for a week or two before contacting a solicitor with an interest in clinical negligence, after a thorough meeting and a long chat it was advised I had a case for possible two areas of negligence, firstly with the smear and secondly at the gynae appt, they had to get all my medical history and a copy of all my GP, hospital notes. They then began to write their report and got an independent gynae oncologist who gave an expert on their finding and what would have been the outcome if the smear was reported properly, they then advised a fertility experts report as my chances of conceiving are now halved, and I am high risk if I do manage to carry a child, in the mean time the hospital also did their own report and involved experts, and they have agreed to admit liability for the smear and that if I t had been reported properly that I would have had treatment and I would never have got the cancer! 


Wow what a letter of apology to recieve! The expert reported that the care I received from the gynae was appropriate and they will only expect to claim for the mis-reporting of the smear and any injuries or losses incurred through having had the unnecessary surgery. 


So at the moment I am still awaiting the fertility experts report and also under the care of a urogynaecologist as I'm having urinary issues which my GP and the urogynaecologist believe is a result of he surgery I had for the cancer, although the trust has admitted liability and want to settle out of court, the apology seems to be that of a generic one and not that I am doing it for the compensation but any compensation will go on a fund for having children and any help I need getting them and for the emotional and psychological effect I've been left with, but also that I want the trust to learn actually the implications of what's happened and if it results in just one more lady being dealt with in appropriate way then I'm happy. 


I'm sorry it's been so long winded, but it's not like I could have given you the short story, feel free to PM me with any questions if you don't want to post on here. 


Hi all

i was diagnosed last June 2013 I had been requesting a smear off my gp and local health centre but they refused as I wasn't due one although i had cin3 removed by loop 2 years previous! They did not keep me on 6month check telling me I had to have 3 yearly ones! I didn't think any different as never been through it before an trusted them. Anyway December 2012 I syarted complaint of pelvic pain was put on antibiotic had a smear and an internal scan By top gynaCologist to be told everything was clear and fine!! Low and behold was told 6 months later due to being referred to urologist as was peeing blood that I had stage 4 cervical cancer! They let me down big time and I have already sought legal advice! The nhs cannot carry on doing this to us woman an it quite obvious it's happening daily! Sorry about the rant! Laura x

Hello ladies.  All these stories have scary similarities to them.  I thought it was only me & my case but there seem to be quite a few of us who have had similar experiences.  I totally trusted my doctor & the 'smear people' but now that all my treatment is over and  I've  thought everything through, I strongly believe that I have a case for negligence.  I'm afraid of the outcome of taking on my doctor or the smear people as I really like the doctors at my practice and am afraid of the outcome.  If I 'lose'  I'll feel awful for having taken them on in the first place, and I won't be able to use that practice any more - how do I go about getting a new doctor?  I've been with the same practice  for over 50 years as have my parents!  My 'children' attended the same shcool as the doctors, it's a rural area so everyone knows everyone else.  I'd need to be 100% sure I have a case before I take it on. I'm not sure I can be bothered with a fight either - all my fighting spirit has gone out of me. 

Hi Ladies, thanks for all of your posts. I had regular smears and have always wondered if there was an error. I was diagnosed with stage 2b cervical cancer. I'm taking legal action too for clinical negligence: no access to effective pain relief during brachytherapy, which is a breach of NICE guidance; and poor pain control for the following two and a half years etc. My solicitor has my notes so I'll ask her to find the audit that I was never told about!

Apple made a point about the length of time you have to claim for clinical negligence. To be within time allowed, you should lodge your claim within three years of the incident that caused the problem. If you can't do this, the court may allow an extension, depending on circumstances. In my case, I made the deadline with four weeks to spare. I decided to take action after the very poor response from the Trust to my formal complaint. They were so defensive And intent on denial. No wonder we have to sue them. It's such a waste of time and money. All we want is better treatment and aftercare, and fewer mistakes! I would prefer to do this co-operatively instead of using the adversarial legal system But we have no choice if we want to make sure things change.

Hugs everyone :-)

Hi, I'm 27. I had my first smear at 25 in 2011. I bled at my smear and was told they may have to call me back for another as it's not always an accurate reading when you have bled. 

Results came back and was all clear. 

Im jan 2013 I had a baby .  Went to docs in oct/nov 2013 as was experiencing abnormal bleeding. Was told by my gp, there snd then after examination that it looked like cc. 

Ive asked the question many of times.... How can I go from clear to stage 2B in 2 years when it's apparently a slow developing cancer. Answer was they don't know. 

glad I've seen this post as I will enquire about my audit. Luckily I have 1 beautiful child, but my plan was to have 2 or 3 children. I only finished treatment 3 weeks ago 20 rt 4 chemo 2 brachytherapy. 

Duch a shr really, I've personally not had many issues with any of my treatment, but reading this thread has made me want to enquire. The other thing we all need to remember is a lot of us are not yet in the clear. It's a very long rocky road and if any of it could have been AVOIDED then surely there should be a case! What is the point in smears if they don't have the decency/time etc to read them correctly. It's costing people their lives!!! 


Hope or we all get some sort of justice



I would like an independent review of my previous smear results  how can I arrange this? Audit results they said only the last smear externally reviewed which wasnt what I wanted! I need peace of mind please can you help? No one will tell me where I can go 

thank you 



I asked my consultant and she said that the review them a year behind so if you were diagnosed in 2016 you would get the results of the audit in 2017. I was diagnosed in December 2016 and got the result in 2017. My previous smear in 2013 was reported incorrectly. I have spoke with a lawyer and they said I have a case. I am nervous about pursuing it as I am worried about how it will affect my future care in the nhs.


Hiya, I know it’s been a long time since you posted, but this is my current situation at the moment. I’ve contacted pals at the hospital so hopefully they will get me some answers. Was your claim successful if you don’t mind me asking? I think I’m going to go down this route but I’m worried xx

Hi Sarah,
I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through this. Yes so all can er diagnoses have to be audit to see if there has been any missed opportunities and in my case my first smear or second smear I can’t remember now was reported as normal but Infact I had pre cancerous cells. I didn’t pursue with the hospital through PALS I went straight to a a solicitor Irwin Mitchell and sis a no win no fee they put me at ease from the beginning and went very in-depth. I had some urinalysis issues also so I had to be seen by a urologist, they got specialists to look at the fertility risks and issues and even down to stipulating I had a 50% less chance of conceiving after having surgery I had to see a psychologist that actually rules I had mild depression. Money will never help what Ive been through, the emotional, phyisical and mental issues money can’t erase.
Don’t get me wrong it was more about someone being accountable for their actions on Mis reporting I didn’t want someone to go through what I did if it could be prevented.
It was probably 2-3 years before I received a payout the hospital admitted liability I was paid a decent amount. But 10 years on, I wasted the money being young and naive and now wish I’d actually saved it or invested it.
But would I claim again I’d I had to of course I would again more so that people become accountable.

Where are you at with treatments and stages?
Here if you need anything else??

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