Pennsylvania women turning to their doctors rightly expect to receive the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on prevention and early diagnosis of ovarian cancer. According to the medical director of integrative gynecologic oncology at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, however, several early warning signs often result in misdiagnosis and failure to treat the cancer. Poor understanding of risk factors and prevention may also compound the risk of doctor error.

One reason for failure to diagnose early-stage ovarian cancer is that the symptoms tend to look like more common problems, such as menstrual or gastrointestinal issues. When doctors do not track risk factors and request tests after seeing these symptoms, women can lose treatment options and suffer far worse outcomes.

The professor states that exercise, diet and vitamin D levels all play a strong role in prevention. Likewise, low vitamin D and obesity are important risk factors. Women who both have these risk factors and exhibit early-stage symptoms are advised to get their ovaries tested. Learning about symptoms is better than risking a misdiagnosis and worsened medical condition.

Advances in medicine have dramatically improved remission and survival rates. However, an early diagnosis remains vital for a cancer patient. When a medical professional fails to make a timely diagnosis, the patient can suffer tremendously. On top of medical expenses, lost wages and pain, a failure to diagnose cancer of any type can turn into a fatal medical error. Those who are suffering or have lost loved ones with the suspicion that doctor negligence was responsible may pursue medical malpractice claims.