Delayed Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer
Our Firm Has Been Representing Clients in Medical Malpractice Cases Against Local Pittsburgh Hospitals and Doctors for Many Years
When it comes to cancer diagnoses, particularly those involving ovarian cancer, it’s critical that healthcare professionals make reasonable efforts to identify the presence of the cancer before it develops to an advanced stage. Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, early stage ovarian cancer can be treated quite effectively. In fact, if ovarian cancer is found at an early stage and before it has spread to other bodily systems and organs, there is a 92 percent survival rate (a five-year survival rate). By contrast, a delayed diagnosis can give rise to severe injury or even death by significantly lowering the survival rate.
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer at an advanced stage, then — in accordance with Pennsylvania law — you may have an actionable medical malpractice claim against your healthcare providers for failing to diagnose your ovarian cancer in a timely manner. For further guidance, get in touch with a Pittsburgh delayed diagnosis attorney here at Matzus Law LLC. The initial consultation is free, so contact us today.
Ovarian cancer is a form of cancer that begins in the ovaries and therefore only affects women. There are several types of cells in the ovaries that may form a tumor and eventually metastasize and spread to other organs and bodily systems: epithelial cells, stromal cells, and germ cells.
Cysts are rather common, but it’s important to note that an ovarian cyst is generally not cancerous. Still, a small portion of such cysts can become cancerous — as such, healthcare professionals must take care to monitor existing ovarian cysts to ensure that they can diagnose the development of cancer in a timely manner.
Common signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
Ovarian cancer can be challenging to detect early, given that many of the symptoms express for other reasons. Healthcare professionals should generally err on the side of caution when appropriate to do so. Proper consideration of the symptoms — and whether they may be indicative of ovarian cancer — demands contextualization of the risk factors. The ease of testing should also be taken into account.
There are a number of risk factors for ovarian cancer. It’s worth noting, however, that the absence of such risk factors does not mean that your treating healthcare professionals are entitled to make a judgment call without further testing, particularly if your symptoms strongly imply the presence of ovarian cancer.
Risk factors of ovarian cancer include:
Screening for ovarian cancer is generally discouraged. Physicians only test for ovarian cancer when there is a significant risk of such cancer due to certain risk factors and symptoms. For example, a transvaginal ultrasound test may be ordered if the patient has a family history of ovarian cancer.
The various tests for ovarian cancer include:
Testing is not a guarantee of diagnosis. Treating healthcare professionals often test for ovarian cancer but fail to recognize the presence of the cancer, leading to a delayed diagnosis.
Healthcare professionals may be liable for medical negligence in the delayed diagnosis context for having:
These accumulated failures can lead to a delayed diagnosis of ovarian cancer. For example, suppose that your treating physician incorrectly interprets your test results and finds that you do not have ovarian cancer. A year passes, and after another test, the physician correctly diagnoses the ovarian cancer. In that year, the ovarian cancer may have advanced to a later stage, thus exposing you to heightened risk of injury and/or death.
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and you believe that the diagnosis was delayed, then Pennsylvania law may entitle you to sue the diagnosing healthcare professional and secure damages as compensation.
At Matzus Law LLC, we believe that medical malpractice claims — including, but not limited to, delayed diagnosis ovarian cancer claims — require a comprehensive analytical approach. As such, our Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys work closely with in-house medical experts to more effectively and comprehensively evaluate your claims. We have over two decades of experience litigating a variety of medical malpractice claims in Butler, Cranberry Township, Greensburg, and throughout Pennsylvania, including delayed diagnosis claims that involve an ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Interested in speaking with a knowledgeable PA medical negligence attorney? Call (412) 206-5300 today for a free consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh delayed diagnosis lawyer here at Matzus Law LLC.
Some symptoms of ovarian cancer are: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly or feeling the need to urinate urgently or often. Other less common symptoms can include: upset stomach or heartburn, fatigue, pain during sex or back pain or menstrual changes.
Basically, all women are at risk for developing ovarian cancer. The symptoms for ovarian cancer can be vague, but usually get more severe and intense over time. Early detection increases a woman’s chances of survival. Importantly, a PAP test does not detect ovarian cancer.
Some risk factors for ovarian cancer include: genetic predisposition, personal or family history of breast, ovarian or colon cancer, increasing age or infertility.
Doctors treating women with 1 or more risk factors should be extra vigilant in watching for early symptoms of ovarian cancer.
The following tests can be used to detect ovarian cancer:
– A pelvic exam where the physician performs a rectovaginal exam by inserting fingers into the rectum and vagina simultaneously to feel for abnormal swelling and to detect tenderness.
– Another test is transvaginal sonography
– Another test is a blood test (CA-125) to determine if a particular protein produced by ovarian cancer cells has increased in the blood of a woman who is at risk for developing ovarian cancer.
If any of the above tests are positive, the doctor should refer you for a consultation with a gynecologic oncologist so that doctor can perform a CT scan for more definitive evaluation. The only way to definitively and conclusively confirm an ovarian cancer diagnosis is with a biopsy, which occurs when ovarian tissue is taken from the patient’s body and examined under a microscope.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and believe that your doctor delayed diagnosing your condition, please call my law firm, Matzus Law, as I will be happy to speak with you to learn more about your situation and investigate a potential claim and perform a root cause analysis as to whether your cancer could have and should have been diagnosed earlier or sooner in time.
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