Deceptive Ovarian Cancer Tests May Endanger Illinois Women

Ovarian cancer is a very serious disease in Illinois and across the United States. Cancerous ovaries may affect other abdominal organs as well. According to the American Cancer Society, the United States has had 22,280 new cases of ovarian cancer and an estimated 15,500 deaths so far this year, which may include some wrongful deaths.

Many women in the United States have early screenings done to prevent the disease. However, the United States Preventive Services Task Force stated that the current ovarian cancer screening test is not beneficial.

The task force gives advice and recommendations based on study results and proven medical facts. The task force, along with The American Cancer Society and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is skeptical about the ovarian cancer screening tests. Medical experts noted that the screening tests often give false-positive results. The results may lead to unnecessary, complicated surgeries, which result in other issues that may worsen the patient’s condition.

Based on the survey conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine, about one-third of the 1,088 physicians who participated still recommend the screening tests to their patients. CA-125, which is the substance used in the test, can also uncover other conditions in addition to cancer.

Physicians stated that only patients who experience symptoms of ovarian cancer should have these tests done. Some doctors and gynecologists believe that the patients ask for the test because they believe it may save their lives.

Physicians and gynecologists often incorrectly diagnose ovarian cancer. Symptoms include swelling in the abdomen, pelvic or lower abdominal pain and frequent urination. All recommended treatments, even those that may result in complications, are the doctor’s responsibility.

If a patient is misdiagnosed, she may be eligible for compensation, which could cover medical expenses and lost wages. If a misdiagnosis causes a patient’s death, the family of the victim may be eligible to recover damages with a wrongful death claim.

Source: The New York Times, “Ovarian Cancer Screenings Are Not Effective, Panel Says,” Denise Grady, September 10, 2012.