Ovarian Cancer - Medical Negligence Solicitors
If your ovarian cancer resulted from, or worsened because of, medical negligence, contact our ovarian cancer solicitors today. We can help you get the compensation you deserve. All of solicitors are medical negligence specialists and will provide you with the highest quality legal representation. All cases are taken on the basis of contingency fee arrangements. That means you only pay your lawyer if your case is successful and you obtain compensation. Our ovarian cancer solicitors provide legal advice at no cost and with no further obligation on all matters related to medical negligence claims.
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Ovarian cancer is a malignant, cancerous growth on one or both of a womans ovaries which can spread throughout the body to other organs and tissues. In some cases, the cancer enters the bloodstream or lymphatic system where it is then carried to other parts of the body.
As many as two out of every one thousand women will develop this condition. Survival depends largely on early diagnosis. Ovarian cancer medical negligence sometimes causes a delay in diagnosis, inflicting the patient with avoidable pain, suffering and financial hardship. If you think that your condition has worsened as a result of medical negligence, contact our ovarian cancer solicitors for advice at no cost.
While the cause of ovarian cancer remains unknown, there are certain risk factors of which healthcare professionals should be aware :-
- a family history of cancer
- first-degree relative who had ovarian cancer
- being over the age of 50
- having had breast cancer or colon cancer
- never having had children
- undergoing hormone replacement therapy
- using fertility drugs
Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect ovarian cancer in its earliest stages. In many cases, the woman doesnt exhibit any of the common symptoms until the cancer is in an advanced stage. These signs and symptoms can include :-
- frequent urination
- abdominal pain
- weight loss or weight gain
- loss of appetite
- abnormal vaginal bleeding
Tests used to diagnose ovarian cancer include :-
- ultrasound scans
- blood tests
- examination of the ovaries, uterus, vagina, bladder, rectum and fallopian tubes
This occurs when the actions of a healthcare provider do not comport with the accepted standards of care in the medical profession. In order to have a claim, it must be shown that medical negligence caused harm to the patient and this can include delayed treatment, misdiagnosis, prescription errors, failure to perform appropriate tests, improper treatment and incorrect diagnosis.
With regard to ovarian cancer, medical negligence poses a grave risk. Negligence on the part of the healthcare provider can cause a delay in diagnosis which could cost the patient their life. Suffering and financial hardship are lessened, and the patients chances for recovery are increased, when ovarian cancer is detected early. if you need legal advice, at no cost, from an ovarian cancer solicitor just call our lawyers helpline
Medical Negligence Solicitors
If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician and would like to speak to a medical negligence lawyer without further obligation, just use the helpline. A medical negligence lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical negligence.
Ovarian surgery involves doing a procedure on the ovaries that can include removal of an ovarian cyst, removal of the ovary due to cancer and surgery that is not related to cancer, such as treatment of the ovary due to endometriosis. An oophorectomy is when an entire ovary is removed for a variety of reasons.
In an oophorectomy, one or both of the ovaries are removed. The ovaries are about the shape and size of a ping pong ball and are attached to the Fallopian tubes on either side of the pelvis. They contain the female eggs that ideally ovulate each month to release a mature egg into the Fallopian tubes. Ovaries also contain the female hormones used throughout a woman’s lifetime.
An oophorectomy can be done as an isolated procedure but is usually done along with removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) and removal of the fallopian tubes. This is called a total hysterectomy. When the tubes and ovaries are just taken together, the procedure is called a salpingo-oophorectomy. When one ovary is removed, it’s called a unilateral oophorectomy; if both are removed, it’s called a bilateral oophorectomy.
Why would one have an ovary removed? There are several reasons why this procedure might have to be done. These include the following:
- Ovarian cancer: In such cases the entire ovary is removed and sometimes the whole uterus and both ovaries.
- Endometriosis. This is when uterine lining travels outside the uterus and settles on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, outside the uterus and on pelvic tissue.
- Benign or noncancerous cysts or tumours on the ovary.
- As a prophylactic measure to prevent a woman from getting breast cancer or ovarian cancer if they happen to have an increased risk.
- The condition called ovarian torsion. This is when the ovary twists and cuts off its blood supply. It can become necrotic and require removal of the ovary.
- A tubo-ovarian abscess: in such cases, there are bacteria and pus collected between the fallopian tube and the ovary. Both must be removed in order to clear the infection. It is often related to a sexually transmitted disease.
The ovary can be done alone or in connection with other pelvic procedures. For example, in a tubo-ovarian abscess, the tube and ovary are removed together. In a total hysterectomy, the ovary is removed along with the entirety of the fallopian tubes and ovaries. A salpingo-oophorectomy is done whenever a woman is at risk for ovarian cancer and has her ovaries removed prophylactically. This increased risk can be determined through genetic testing and family history.
There are risks to having an oophorectomy and the risk increases if it is done along with a hysterectomy or salpingectomy (tube removal). The major risks include:
- Getting a postoperative infection.
- Having bleeding at the time of surgery.
- Accidentally damaging organs near the ovary.
- Tumor rupture which has the potential to spread cancer cells throughout the pelvis.
- Failure to get all the ovarian cells, leading to ongoing pain and other pelvic symptoms.
There is also a risk of causing premature menopause, especially if most or all of both ovaries are removed. If this happens, the lack of the ovarian hormones can cause the following:
- Hot flashes and vaginal dryness—signs and symptoms of menopause.
- Heart disease.
- Anxiety or depression.
- Problems with memory.
- Lessened sex drive.
- Early death from heart disease.
Hormone replacement medications may be taken after an oophorectomy. It has its own risks but can be taken before the age of fifty. You need time to recover after the surgery. If you are healthy, you can return to your normal activities at about six weeks post-surgery. If your surgery was laparoscopic, you will likely recover sooner—about two weeks following the surgery.
Ovarian Cancer Medical Overview
Ovarian cancer begins in the female ovaries. The ovaries, under normal circumstances, make ovarian hormones and create eggs for ovulation. Ovarian cancer happens to be the fifth most common female cancer and causes more deaths than any other female reproductive tumor. This is because it is not often diagnosed until it reaches a late stage. The cause of ovarian cancer is not known.
There are several risk factors for developing ovarian factors. If a woman gives birth early in life, she is at a lesser risk of developing ovarian cancer. The genetic markers BRCA1 and BRCA2 contribute to some cases of ovarian cancer. Women who have had a personal history of breast cancer or a family history of ovarian or breast cancer are at a greater risk for ovarian cancer. Older age increases risk of ovarian cancer. About two thirds of women who die from ovarian cancer are between the ages of 55 and 75. Only around twenty five percent of women are less than 54. It is rare below the age of 35.
Women who take estrogen alone as hormone replacement therapy have a higher chance of having ovarian cancer. Progesterone appears to be somewhat protective. Birth control pills reduce the risk of getting ovarian cancer. Fortunately, fertility drugs do not increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer are not always obvious. Women notice vague bloating, difficulty eating, pelvic pain or abdominal pain, or feeling full easily. Related symptoms include abnormal menses, pelvic heaviness, swollen abdomen from fluid retention, digestive symptoms, vaginal bleeding, back pain, weight loss or weight gain, and vague discomfort over the abdomen. Excessive hair growth is possible as is increased urinary frequency and urgency.
Diagnosis of ovarian cancer is not usually done when the ovarian cancer is at an early stage. Doctors can do an alpha fetoprotein level and other blood chemistries. A CA-125 can be high in ovarian cancer. A serum HCG can be positive. A CT scan of the abdomen or an MRI scan can show one or more lesions. A gastrointestinal series can show blockages from tumor. An ultrasound can show the cancer and might be an incidental test for another reason. Doctors then do a laparoscopy of the pelvis or a laparotomy so as to get a biopsy of the tissue and find out whether or not it is cancerous.
The treatment of ovarian cancer includes surgery. Surgery involves a total hysterectomy, removing the ovaries, uterus and cervix. Removal of both ovaries is necessary as the tumour can jump to the other ovary. There can also be partial or complete removal of the omentum, which is the fatty layer that covers and pads the abdominal organs. Lymph nodes are biopsied and removed if they are suspicious for cancer. Other tissues of the abdomen and pelvis are removed if they appear to contain cancerous tissue.
Chemotherapy is often used in the management of advanced stage ovarian cancer or if the cancer returns after removal. It can be given by IV or injected directly into the abdominal cavity. Radiation tends not to work and isn't often used in ovarian cancer treatment.
Patients need to have a pelvic exam every 2-4 months for two years and then every 6 months for another three years. They need yearly examinations after that. A CA-125 examination isn't always positive or high but if it is, it can be used as a marker for recurrence of the disease. CT scans can be done on a regular basis in order to determine if there is recurrence of tumor.
The prognosis of ovarian cancer is not good because it isn't often found early. About 76 percent of women with ovarian cancer can survive after a year post-diagnosis. Only about forty five percent of women are still alive five years after the diagnosis. The five year survival rate for those who had early diagnosis and management is good at 94 percent.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here