Delayed Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer Attorney Pittsburgh, PA
Experienced PA Medical Malpractice Lawyers Help Victims of Ovarian Cancer Misdiagnosis Get Compensation in Butler County, Westmoreland County, and Across Western Pennsylvania
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.
What Is Ovarian Cancer?
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.
Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Common signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Swollen/bloated abdomen (due to fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity).
- Pressure in the abdomen or pelvis area.
- Pain in the abdomen or pelvis area.
- Loss of appetite.
- Painful intercourse.
- More frequent or urgent need to urinate.
- Constipation or diarrhea.
- Sudden and unexpected vaginal bleeding.
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.
Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
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:
- Family history of ovarian or breast cancer.
- Personal medical history of cancer.
- Old age (55+ years).
- Zero lifetime pregnancies.
- Use of hormone therapy (menopausal).
Testing for Ovarian Cancer
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:
- Transvaginal ultrasound
- CA-125 blood test
- Pelvic examination
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- PET scan
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.
Medical Negligence in Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer by Pennsylvania Doctors
Healthcare professionals may be liable for medical negligence in the delayed diagnosis context for having:
- Failed to order necessary tests.
- Failed to consider various risk factors and symptoms.
- Incorrectly interpreted test results.
- Failed to refer patient to a qualified specialist.
- Failed to seek a second opinion for ambiguous results.
- Failed to conduct test properly (i.e., made mistakes that affected test results).
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.
Speak to an Experienced Pittsburgh Ovarian Cancer Delayed Diagnosis Lawyer for Assistance with Your Medical Malpractice Claim
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) 330-1006 today for a free consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh delayed diagnosis lawyer here at Matzus Law LLC.