Ovarian cancer is one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose, especially in its early stages when treatment could offer more benefit. Many physicians in New Mexico use a blood test called a cancer antigen 125 as a diagnostic tool. However, the Food and Drug Administration has announced that this test does not produce definitive results.
The test measures the level of CA125 protein in blood, and cancer researchers have associated high levels with cancer. When used as a diagnostic tool for ovarian cancer, however, the results can be misleading. The findings of The Mayo Clinic reveal that multiple inflammatory conditions can influence CA125 protein levels. These include endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and fibroids. The hormonal fluctuations of menstruation can increase CA125 by two or three times.
A high reading from the blood test could prompt physicians to order more invasive tests in an attempt to rule out cancer. These actions would be unnecessary considering the initial test result cannot be considered a reliable indicator of ovarian cancer. The FDA advised physicians not to believe any marketing messages that claim a test can definitely detect ovarian cancer.
A failure to diagnose cancer could cause a person to miss an opportunity for treatment. Physician negligence might be behind such an outcome if the physician did not take all reasonable steps to detect the disease, such as a transvaginal ultrasound in the case of suspected ovarian cancer. An attorney might help a person determine if medical malpractice took place. To build a lawsuit, an attorney could collect testimony from medical experts showing that the physician in question may not have met accepted standards of care.