Just this year alone, over 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Mainly developing in older women, ovarian cancer kills almost 14,000 women of that 22,000. If caught early, ovarian cancer has a much better treatment success rate. However, because this type of cancer often doesn’t display symptoms early or the symptoms mirror other diagnoses, it can go undetected.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer often goes undetected because the symptoms seem mild or mimic other common reproductive and bladder disorders. The symptoms of this type of cancer include:
- Weight loss
- Easily feeling full while eating
- Constipation or changes in bowel habits
- Abdominal swelling
- Frequent need to urinate or urgency in urination
- Abdominal pain
- Pain during intercourse
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Back pain
There are certain factors that can increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer including inherited gene mutations, increased age (most common in women between 50 and 60), a family history of ovarian cancer, estrogen replacement therapy, and early menstruation or late-onset menstruation.
Common Tests to Determine Ovarian Cancer
When displaying signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, your physician may order tests to check for cancer. These tests may include:
- Pelvic exam
- Imaging tests
- Computed tomography (CT) scans
- Barium enema x-rays
- Chest x-rays (if metastasized)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scans
- Laparoscopy, colonoscopy, and biopsy
- Blood tests
Doctor’s Failure to Diagnose Ovarian Cancer in Women
Because ovarian cancer symptoms sometimes mimic other benign diseases or other forms of cancer, a doctor can miss the symptoms or mistake them for something else if they aren’t thorough. Doctors can fail to diagnose ovarian cancer if they fail to order the necessary tests to rule out cancer, sometimes because of the cost of the tests. A general practitioner may fail to recommend a patient to a specialist if they don’t recognize symptoms consistent with ovarian cancer.
A pathologist or radiologist could misread test or scan results leading to a misdiagnosis, or they could improperly communicate the results with the primary doctor or the patient. Medical malpractice can also be due to completing tests, scans, and lab work in an unreasonably long amount of time which could affect when treatments are administered.
Building a Failure to Diagnose Ovarian Cancer Case
In every medical malpractice case, there are three criteria necessary to build a strong defense for negligence. The first is proof that there was an established doctor-patient relationship and that it was established before the diagnosis should have been made. The second is proof that according to best practices and medical standards of other doctors in the field, the doctor failed to do what was medically necessary and failed to recognize symptoms that most doctors would recognize. Lastly, there should be proof that the patient was harmed due to the negligence of the doctor.
Contact Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Atlanta for Failure to Diagnose Cases
If you or a loved one suffered at the hand of a doctor that failed to diagnose ovarian cancer, contact the experienced attorneys of Moraitakis & Kushel, LLP at 800-688-2357.