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Suchin R. Khanna, Brave Nguyen, Mahmoud Charif
(Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA)
Am J Case Rep 2017; 18:669-673
Mucinous ovarian adenocarcinoma is one of the less common epithelial cancers of the ovaries, and typically does not occur in younger women. Nearly all mucinous ovarian adenocarcinomas present with early-stage disease without significant sequelae of cancer, such as clotting. Anchoring bias is a common problem in medicine that has been shown to significantly affect physician decision-making.
CASE REPORT: We present the case of a 24-year-old healthy female Chinese immigrant with no significant past medical history, who presented with a subacute history of nonproductive cough and shortness of breath with exertion. Initial workup was directed towards diagnosis of tuberculosis and other infectious etiologies due to anchoring to patient’s nationality and her positive family history for tuberculosis. She was eventually diagnosed with extensive bilateral pulmonary emboli and bilateral deep vein thromboses as well as a right ventricular thrombus. This extensive clot burden helped lead to the diagnosis of mucinous ovarian adenocarcinoma.
CONCLUSIONS: This case is significant not only because the diagnosis of mucinous ovarian adenocarcinoma is uncommon in healthy young females under the age of 25, but, more importantly, because such extensive pulmonary emboli and deep vein thromboses in a young female with local/early-stage ovarian cancer is very rare. This case is also significant because it serves as an important reminder of the risks of anchoring bias in skewing perceptions and delaying the correct diagnosis by physicians.