In light of several multimillion-dollar trial verdicts this year against healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J), consumers have become aware of the dangerous link between the talc in J&J’s baby powder products and ovarian cancer. Thousands of women across the country filed lawsuits against the company alleging J&J failed to warn them of the risk of ovarian cancer associated with its products.
Every year, over 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and nearly 15,000 will die from the disease. Ovarian cancer is a particularly aggressive form of cancer, and for patients to stand the best chance at curing it, ovarian cancer needs to be diagnosed in its early stages. Unfortunately, many women with ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until the late stages of the disease because their symptoms are misdiagnosed as lesser conditions.
Ovarian cancer isn’t just misdiagnosed by doctors. Some women experiencing ovarian cancer symptoms assume menopause, hormonal fluctuations, or other temporary medical issues are causing their symptoms. Any woman experiencing ovarian cancer symptoms should visit a doctor to determine the cause. While there are diagnostic tests to confirm an ovarian cancer diagnosis, they only work if women seek help from their doctor.
Commonly misdiagnosed ovarian cancer symptoms include:
- Bloating – While many women experience temporary bloating, persistent bloating could be a sign of more serious medical conditions, including cancer.
- Frequent abdominal or pelvic pain – If women experience abdominal or pelvic pain more than 12 times a month, they should visit a doctor.
- Change in bowel movements – Sometimes ovarian tumors can grow large enough in size that they put pressure on the bowels. This can cause women to need to go to the bathroom much more frequently.
- Difficulty eating – Some women with ovarian cancer might not have the appetite they used to. Not eating enough could cause women to lose a dangerous amount of weight and cause other serious health issues.
Doctors might misdiagnose these symptoms as a variety of other conditions, including menopause, urinary tract infections, incontinence, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), allergies, and even eating disorders. Diagnostic tests and ultrasounds can help determine whether or not a woman has ovarian tumors. Women who believe they were misdiagnosed should seek out diagnostic tests or a second opinion from another doctor.