Why is ovarian cancer so difficult to diagnose?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

Residents of Chicago, Illinois who are diagnosed with cancer often find their worlds crumbling. Sadly, ovarian cancer is one of the most misdiagnosed or late-diagnosed types. It’s important to know why this is the case.

Why is it difficult to diagnose ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer has a history of being difficult to diagnose in the early stages. On average, only around 20% of all cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed early on.

If the cancer is caught in the earliest stages, it’s easier to treat. The patient also has a much higher chance of going into remission. Unfortunately, most often, ovarian cancer isn’t detected until it reaches stage 3 or stage 4 when it has spread beyond the ovaries in the pelvic area.

What are the risk factors?

Some women have certain risk factors for ovarian cancer. The following may increase the risk for developing the disease:

  • Family history of ovarian cancer
  • Personal history of breast cancer, uterine cancer or colorectal cancer
  • Testing positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
  • Not having biological children
  • Endometriosis
  • History of using fertility drugs or hormone therapy
  • Being obese
  • Being over the age of 40

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

The early stages of ovarian cancer often don’t result in symptoms. However, when they do appear, women might experience the following:

  • Belly or pelvic pain
  • Bloating
  • Feeling full fast after eating
  • Urgency to urinate or frequent urination

Women who experience a combination of these symptoms should discuss them with their doctor. While these signs can happen and not mean anything, they might indicate ovarian cancer if they linger instead of clearing up on their own. Always be your own advocate and listen to your body.

A late diagnosis or misdiagnosis of ovarian cancer can be devastating. Seek help immediately.