How Ovarian Cancer is Often Misdiagnosed

June 12, 2023 by James McHugh, Jr.
ovarian cancer misdiagnosed

The ovaries are two small organs the size of grapes on either side of the uterus. When they become cancerous, symptoms are often undetected. Misdiagnosis can be due to negligence on the part of your healthcare provider.

If you or someone you love has had their ovarian cancer misdiagnosed, contact Lopez McHugh to discuss your case. The victim of medical negligence may be entitled to financial damages.

The Job of the Ovaries

These two tiny organs are important to the female body and reproduction. They are responsible for several functions, the most well-known being the production of eggs. They serve a crucial role in fertility. They also often produce the following hormones:

  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Testosterone

From puberty to pregnancy and beyond, the ovaries play an essential role. The health of a person’s ovaries can sometimes be challenging to ensure since, in ovarian cancer’s early stages, the symptoms are not always evident.

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

When cell growth is uncontrolled and spreads to other body parts, this is the basic definition of cancer. Cancer can begin in the ovaries. A person who has ovarian cancer may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Vaginal discharge or spotting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Frequent urination
  • Bloating

One of the dangers of ovarian cancer is that it might spread to other organs, such as:

  • Fallopian tubes
  • Bladder
  • Uterus
  • Lymph nodes
  • Liver
  • Spleen

If ovarian cancer is not detected and stopped early, it can spread throughout the body and lead to the person being unable to fight it off and dying.

Who is at Risk for Ovarian Cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute, ovarian cancer strikes about 1.2% of females. Some factors seem to increase the risk of ovarian cancer. More than half of the women diagnosed are not diagnosed until they are over 63 years old. Ovarian cancer rarely occurs in younger women.

The following factors make ovarian cancer more of a threat:

  • The more a female has ovulated, the more at risk they are of developing ovarian cancer. This could mean women who did not have children or did not complete a full-term pregnancy or women who had children later in life, specifically after 35.
  • Excess weight is another factor that can contribute to the risk of developing ovarian cancer. People who are overweight are more in jeopardy of having ovarian cancer. A body mass index (BMI) of 25-29% can increase your risk by 16%. When entering the obese range of a BMI of greater than 30%, the chances of developing ovarian cancer increase 30% versus what a person with what is considered a “normal” weight might experience.
  • Women who have participated in hormone therapy, including estrogen and progesterone, following menopause are more at risk.
  • Sometimes having in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments can make a person more susceptible to ovarian cancer.
  • Smoking increases the risk of several types of cancer, and ovarian is among these.
  • If a person has suffered from breast cancer previously, their chances of developing ovarian cancer are higher.
  • Genetic risk factors can also increase the risk of ovarian cancer. If a family member has a history of gynecological cancer, such as ovarian, breast, or colorectal cancer, you stand a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. The gene mutation seems to be passed from parent to child.

If you were on birth control pills or had children, you are less at risk for ovarian cancer.

Factors That Could Lead to an Ovarian Cancer Misdiagnosis

Some people have ovarian cancer without being aware of it. The symptoms are not always obvious. Misdiagnosis can happen when you are told that the symptoms you are experiencing are not cancer-related.

Many times, symptoms of ovarian cancer are ignored when healthcare providers do not take them seriously. Bloating and urinary problems are not always considered serious issues, for instance. Confirmed cases of ovarian cancer can be confused with the following:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Indigestion
  • Diverticulitis
  • Heartburn
  • UTI
  • Endometriosis
  • Menopause

Request a second opinion if you feel the diagnosis your healthcare professional has given you is not accurate.

Misdiagnosing Ovarian Cancer Could Be the Result of Medical Malpractice

If you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed, you may have been the victim of medical malpractice. If a doctor had detected your cancer before it advanced to a more serious stage in its development, it could have been due to medical malpractice.

If you think you have been a victim of medical malpractice, look for:

  • A delay in diagnosing your ovarian cancer because the symptoms were confused with another condition, such as a cyst, prolapsed uterine fibroid, endometriosis, cervical erosion, or the like.
  • A doctor failing to perform adequate diagnostic testing for the symptoms you were experiencing or your specific threat level.
  • Errors in collecting specimens can also lead to a misdiagnosis that should have been avoided.
  • An error in reporting or interpreting the cytopathology results.
  • A pap smear or other test required a follow-up that you did not receive, your ovarian cancer may have further progressed.
  • Appropriate treatment was not offered following a diagnosis.
  • When treatment for ovarian cancer is delayed, causing your condition to worsen.

If you were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but because of a misdiagnosis, your results were more dangerous or required more intervention, you experienced medical malpractice and should be compensated.

Contact Us for Help with a Medical Misdiagnosis Claim

If an ovarian cancer misdiagnosis caused the disease to progress more, making your treatment options more challenging or meaning your overall health is more at risk, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The medical malpractice lawyers of Lopez McHugh are ready to help.

Reach out today for a free consultation. Our experience and skills will lend themselves to a more positive resolution for you.

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