Researchers find that almost half of ovarian cancer patients are initially misdiagnosed

In a surprising study, researchers have found quite a large number of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer were initially diagnosed with a different disease.

The charity, Target Ovarian Cancer, conducted a study wherein they found that almost half of women that have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer were initially misdiagnosed.

 "They deserve better than this"

The researchers also found that 4 out of 10 patients with ovarian cancer had their symptoms dismissed by their doctors. The newfound study brings to light the importance of early diagnosis, especially when it comes to diseases like cancer.

Around 46% of the patients that had cancer were given tests for other diseases, and not for ovarian cancer. Annwen Jones from Target Ovarian Cancer, shares: "Women with ovarian cancer are being failed at diagnosis, in access to trials and effective drugs, and they lack support. They deserve better than this"

One-fifth of the sufferers who were aged 50 and above were told that they needed to seek treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Official guidelines regarding ovarian cancer say that older women that have IBS should be tested for ovarian cancer.

Doctors continue to be unaware of the symptoms

The authors of the study shared, "Too many women continue to think cervical screening protects them against ovarian cancer and many have a false confidence in their ability to spot the symptoms of ovarian cancer."

They add, "Women continue to face repeat visits to their GP before being referred for diagnostic tests and many GPs still falsely believe symptoms only present themselves in the later stages of the disease and continue to be unaware of the importance of family history on both sides of the family."

This just goes to show that in some cases, it's always better to ask for a second opinion from another doctor, especially if you feel that your initial diagnosis is incorrect.

Go to the next page to learn more about preventing ovarian cancer.

Preventing ovarian cancer

Currently, there's no confirmed way to prevent ovarian cancer. However, you can take some steps to keep yourself healthy and to reduce the risk that you'll have ovarian cancer later on in life.

  1. Birth control pills. Birth control pills can help reduce the risk of getting ovarian cancer by 50% for women who take it for at least 5 years. Consult your gynecologist about what options are available to you.
  2. Gene testing and surgery. For women who have a family history of ovarian cancer, gene testing is a good way of identifying whether you're at risk. For older women who are finished having children, removing the ovaries and fallopian tubes is also an option. This is more commonly done among women aged 35-40.
  3. Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet keeps your body strong and can also lower the risk of getting cancer in general, not just ovarian cancer.
  4. Exercise. Along with a healthy diet, exercise or at the very least, staying active helps keep your body strong and resistant against disease.
  5. Quit smoking. If you're a smoker, then it's best to quit smoking as recent studies have found that smoking can directly increase the risk of having certain types of ovarian cancer. Aside from ovarian cancer, smoking also causes lung, throat, and mouth cancer.

READ: You might already be at risk for breast cancer without knowing it

Sources: dailymail.co.uk, theguardian.com, webmd.com

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