A report published in May 2019 has found that general practitioners are failing to identify symptoms of ovarian cancer, leading to delays in diagnosis and unavoidable deaths from the disease.
As with all cancers, early detection offers patients the best chance of survival, yet many GPs are missing the symptoms of ovarian cancer because those symptoms are also consistent with benign conditions. According to an analysis of government data by Target Ovarian Cancer, a leading U.K. charity, while referral numbers are improving , only 58% of women are diagnosed with the disease after visiting their GP. Many do not discover they have ovarian cancer until they present at A&E with serious health problems, by which time it is often too late.
For too high a proportion of patients, symptoms are explained as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), urinary tract infections, food intolerances and even the menopause. Placing reliance on these diagnoses can mean by the time they discover they have ovarian cancer, effective treatment is unlikely.
The report from Target Ovarian Cancer also found significant regional variations in diagnosis of the disease, with some areas of the U.K. detecting early stage ovarian cancer in less than 50% of cases.
It is absolutely vital that GPs and other clinicians are sufficiently educated as to the symptoms of ovarian cancer, so that prompt referral is made and treatment commenced as soon as possible. Until then many women are going to be deprived of the opportunity to succesfully fight this potentially fatal disease.
The clinical negligence team here at FDR Law have extensive experience in dealing with cases following a delayed diagnosis of cancer and can offer you friendly and compassionate advice.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
- feeling constantly bloated
- a swollen tummy
- discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area
- feeling full quickly when eating or loss of appetite
- needing to pee more often or more urgently than normal