Inadequate Care for Ovarian Cancer Patients in Virginia

Posted on May 10, 2013

At age 32, Jennifer McKeon of Alexandria, Virginia, was diagnosed with stage-3 ovarian cancer. Her doctor recommended a full hysterectomy surgery and aggressive chemotherapy. She thought the treatment was extreme, so she sought a second and a third opinion.

Her concerns were validated by a new study, showing that 75% of patients with ovarian cancer are not getting cutting edge care. This leads to more reoccurrences and more deaths. 

John Elkas, a gynecological oncologist at INOVA Fairfax Hospital, said, “We have a long way to go in this country, even with all of our technological advances to really provide the best care to women with this disease.” Dr. Elkas suggested that women are not getting the proper care for diseases like ovarian cancer because they are not being treated by specialists. Instead, they are seeing general surgeons or general oncologists.  

According to Elkas, “Not every doctor sees ovarian cancer regularly, so lumping it together with colon cancer, pancreatic cancer is wrong.”

He suggested that women:

  • Educate themselves after a diagnosis
  • Seek out specialists
  • Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion

Jennifer McKeon said she might not be alive if she had not pursued a specialty doctor.  She likened it to having a heart condition and seeing a general practitioner instead of a cardiologist. She said that women should expect nothing less than having a specialist for their specific type of cancer.  

Doctors who are untrained in how to address a specific cancer can also make mistakes in their treatment plan, leading to negligence, ultimately causing more damage. Surgeons who are unfamiliar with the nature of ovarian cancer may miss cancer cells during surgery, causing the cancer to return.   

If you were the victim of medical negligence in Virginia, call our Fairfax medical malpractice lawyers today. We have the experience necessary to fight for you. Call 703.591.0067, or fill out the contact form at the top of this page.  

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