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Is my mom’s doctor a quack?


Dear Doc,

My mother saw the doctor four times a year and all of a sudden she was diagnosed with an ovarian cancer. Why is this possible? Is her doctor a “quack”?{{more}}


Dear Colette,

Nothing hurts a doctor more than when a patient who has been a regular client of his practice gets diagnosed with a cancer. Not all doctors are of the same experience, and even the best physicians can be stumped with a diagnosis made by a medical student on attachment for a week.

If there is a cancer that can trick a doctor, it is an ovarian cancer. This is because even if the patient had never reported any changes to their well-being, only a doctor who was aware of a previous family history, or other reasons for investigating the abdomen, might develop suspicion.

One obvious reason is that the abdomen can accommodate significant expansion of masses without compressing other tissues and thus no pain is noted. The sensation of bloating and fullness that sometimes presents can easily be sidelined as other possible diagnoses.

There are genetic markers for ovarian cancers but they are also present with other conditions and thus it does not give specific inclination to ovarian cancer. What is important is that family history of such cancers can prompt more detailed investigations and more detailed history must be given to your doctor even if it seems like nothing out of the normal.


SVG Cancer Society,

P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 526-7036