With September being Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we should all take the opportunity to educate ourselves about ovarian cancer, including the risks of developing the disease, signs and symptoms you should be aware of, how ovarian cancer can be treated and the consequences that might be faced if it is not promptly diagnosed and treated.
Risks of Ovarian Cancer
According to the National Women’s Health Network, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the U.S., but accounts for only three percent of all cancer cases in U.S. women, with 21,000 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year.
The average risk that a woman will develop ovarian cancer in her lifetime is 1 in 75, although factors such as age, genetics, lifestyle, and family medical history will affect a particular woman’s risk for ovarian cancer. Rates of diagnosis are highest for women aged 55 to 64, and about one in 10 cases of ovarian cancer are considered heredity, as they are attributed to mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Some of the primary signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Feelings of bloating
- Pelvic and/or abdominal pain
- Low appetite or feeling full quickly
- Urinary issues
You should schedule an appointment with your primary physician or gynecologist if you are experiencing these symptoms on a daily basis for a period of more than several weeks. Although all of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, your doctor should run a differential diagnosis, including testing if necessary, to rule out the possibility of ovarian cancer.
Treating Ovarian Cancer
The typical course of treatment for ovarian cancer involves surgery to remove visible tumors from the ovaries, along with a course of chemotherapy. More advanced stages of ovarian cancer, particular where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, may require more aggressive treatment, including more extensive chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and experimental treatments like immunotherapies and gene therapies.
Consequences of Delayed or Misdiagnosed Ovarian Cancer
Although we all trust our physicians to accurately and promptly diagnose medical conditions that we might be suffering from, it is an unfortunate reality that doctors can and do make mistakes, which can lead them to misdiagnose or fail to diagnose conditions such as ovarian cancer.
Reasons why doctors may misdiagnose or fail to timely diagnose ovarian cancer, include:
- Failing to include ovarian cancer in the differential diagnosis when a patient presents with symptoms indicative of ovarian cancer, as many of those symptoms also indicate more common medical conditions
- Failing to refer a patient to specialist physicians, such as gynecologists or oncologists who specialize in ovarian cancer
- Failing to conduct proper testing, such as blood tests, biopsies, and genetic testing for markers that indicate a highly increased risk of ovarian cancer
- Failing to properly diagnose the stage of ovarian cancer, such as diagnosing it as an early stage cancer when in reality cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body
Unfortunately, failing to promptly and correctly diagnose ovarian cancer can cause a patient to miss out on the critical window where cancer is more easily treatable and survival rates are much higher. When you or a loved one have suffered a misdiagnosis of your ovarian cancer due to your medical providers’ errors, you may have a viable claim for medical malpractice and may be entitled to recover compensation for your financial damages and for the harm you have suffered.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Cancer Misdiagnosis Case in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Chatham cancer misdiagnosis attorneys at Blume, Forte, Fried, Zerres & Molinari are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout New Jersey, including Bayone, Kearney, Hoboken, and West New York. Call us today at (973) 635-5400 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at One Main Street, Chatham, NJ 07928, and we also have offices in Jersey City, Sea Girt, North Bergen.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.