Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

Too quick with the knife

Posted In: Medical Errors 1 Replies
  • Posted By: Kim Dwyer
  • March 10, 2007
  • 03:27 AM

My 24 year sister received the diagnosis of polycystic ovaries at least 4 years ago and her primary symptoms were those of a person with metabilic syndrome. We were never sure which came first (the chicken or the egg) but my husband and I knew that part of her problem was emotional (depression.)

Now "Carol" as I will call her, has an tumor the size of an egg on he ovary and this was discovered on an ultrasound after a routine Gyn check-up revealed a mass. The tumor supposedly is 3' x5", segmented, fluid filled, mobile and has vasculature. Based on this information a surgeon was asked to consult and the surgeon and an oncologist both agree that the ovary will probably have to come out, even if the OR pathology tests do not confirm malignancy.

These are all female doctors in a large and lucrative practice and I cannot seem to impress upon my family the need for a second opinion. I suspect the urgency of removal of the ovary because they scheduled the surgery more than 4 weeks out from the decision to do it. I also would think that a young woman with her specific diagnosis probably has a large cyst. Why take the ovary until they are certain it harbours cancer cells?

Will you describe the physical characteristics of a malignant vs. benign tumor?

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  • Hmmm... I had the exact opposite problem. I've had ovarian cysts since I was 14. (I know because I had one burst, and it was probably the most painful thing I've ever experienced.) They're not cancerous or anything... just simple cysts. Anyhow, I'm 26 year old now, I still have them, and they cause me discomfort and sometime pain, and I couldn't convince the doctor that it might be a good idea to just get rid of them. At my age, of course, I have to be a breeder. The doctors couldn't get it through their thick skulls that I hate children, I've got a lifelong female partner who also does not like children, and neither of us plans to produce children. So, for me, the only thing my ovaries do is to cause me pain, with hormone balance problems, and the docs are too fixed on my potential as a breeder to help stop the pain. So, would your sister like to switch doctors with me?Oh, and the differences between benign and malignant tumours... you really can't be sure without a biopsy if it's a solid growth, although some imagery technologies will give your doctor a fairly educated guess, but a biopsy is still necessary. However, if it's a liquid-filled enlargement, you can be pretty positive that it's benign. I'll tell you though, when those suckers burst, be prepared to experience acute-appendicitis-like burning overwhelming pain.
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