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Diagnosing ovarian cancer

If a Florida woman is suffering from pelvic or abdominal pain, bloating or is experiencing urinary symptoms, she could potentially have ovarian cancer. There are several tests that a doctor or specialist may utilize to diagnose their patient.

The first step doctors take to make a diagnosis is to conduct a physical exam. During this type of exam, they are looking for specific symptoms, which may include fluid in the abdomen and an enlarged ovary. If these symptoms are present, the patient will then be referred to a gynecologic oncologist who will continue in ordering more tests. These doctors specialize in treating cancers that occur in women's reproductive systems.

When a patient meets with a gynecologic oncologist, there are several tests that the patient may be required to undergo before a formal diagnosis can be made. The first of these are imaging tests, an ultrasound, which focuses on creating images of the female patient's reproductive organs, may be used to determine if there is cancer or cysts present on the ovaries. If cancer is present in the reproductive tract, CT scans and MRI scans may also be performed to determine if there is cancer present in other areas of the body. A biopsy, which is the removal of tissue, will be done to determine if the tissue is cancerous.

If a doctor fails to identify signs that a patient may be suffering from ovarian cancer, resulting in a delayed diagnosis, the patient may have the grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against both the doctor and the hospital or practice where the failure to diagnose her occurred. In the lawsuit, she may seek compensation for certain damages that resulted, including expensive hospital and treatment bills.

Source: American Cancer Society, "How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?", accessed on Jan. 21, 2015

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