Failure to Diagnose Ovarian Cancer – The Silent Killer

Ovarian cancer can develop unnoticed for an extended period of time. When discovered, it may be too late to cure because of a great risk that the cancer will metastasize to other organs. Certain women are at increased risk for developing ovarian cancer. Women who have a genetic predisposition (family history) should obtain genetic counseling and screen with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests. Women who also have a family history of colon or breast cancer are at increased risk, as are older women. Please be aware that a PAP smear does not test for ovarian cancer.

In the face of increased risk factors, a physician, particularly an ob/gyn, should prescribe periodic ultrasounds and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (“MRI”) to increase the potential for early detection.

A new protocol calculated to improve early detection of ovarian cancer was announced in June 2007 by Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists and the American Cancer Society.  The methodology is based upon the report of certain symptoms that persist nearly every day for more than two to three weeks.  The symptoms that might be a sign for concern include pelvic or abdominal pain, bloating not associated with the menstrual cycle, difficulty eating or achieving a feeling of being full quickly and feeling a frequent or urgent need to urinate.  It is important to emphasize that the symptoms identified should be new and significantly different than the customary state of health, and at the same time, it should be recognized that the existence of such symptoms does not necessarily mean that the patient has ovarian cancer.  However, the existence of such symptoms should prompt a visit to a gynecologist.  These warning signs have been endorsed by numerous cancer related organizations and should establish a new standard of care for the early detection of ovarian cancer.  These new standards are part of a new aggressive approach for early detection and have been prompted by horror stories that have occurred in situations where physicians have ignored patient complaints of these symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and your physician was previously aware of the existence of any of the risk factors noted above and did not take appropriate diagnostic steps, or if you presented to a physician with the symptoms identified above, then it may be appropriate to explore whether or not your doctor treated you properly. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys with our Stamford, Connecticut firm of Casper & de Toledo can assist you in that determination.

For more information on ovarian cancer, please refer to the following web sites:

www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ovariancancer.html

http://ovariancancer.jhmi.edu

www.cancer.org

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