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Woman With 17-Pound Ovarian Cyst Misdiagnosed With Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Doctors told her that she was bloated from a digestive problem known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), while strangers gave up their bus seats for her because she appeared nine-months pregnant. However, Janet Delaney was neither pregnant nor bloated from IBS. Instead, she had a 17-pound ovarian cyst growing inside of her. Nevertheless, doctors failed to diagnose her condition on three different occassions.

Finally, after growing weary of the usual IBS diagnosis, Delaney asked to have an ultrasound performed on her abdomen. That’s when doctors discovered the gigantic cyst on her ovaries. Doctors finally surgically removed the cyst this March, which took five hours to remove and was so heavy that it took two people to lift it out of her body. Doctors continue to monitor Delaney’s blood, since the cyst did appear to be slightly malignant. However, Delaney has not been diagnosed with cancer.

Delaney stated:

I am disgusted that I was told so many times that this was irritable bowel syndrome. I looked nine months pregnant–strangers were giving up their seats for me on the bus, asking me when the baby was due. I’m lucky that I eventually insisted on having a scan–and the cyst was eventually found before it was too late.

While Delaney isn’t the only woman to experience an ovarian cyst, doctors usually use an ultrasound, CT, or MRI scan if they aren’t able to detect it with a physical exam. Ovarian cysts are, in fact, very common amongst women under 50. However, most ovarian cysts are not cancerous and disappear without treatment, according to the National Institutes of Health. Furthermore, even the biggest cysts don’t usually grow beyond 5 centimeters in diameter. Delaney’s case is obviously extraordinary, however doctors urge women to pay attention to unusal symptoms and to be seen annually by their OBGYN for pelvic and breast exams. In addition, if a woman isn’t comfortable with an initial doctor’s opinion and something still doesn’t seem right, always seek a second opinion.