Failure to Diagnose Colon & Rectal Cancer
Colon and rectal cancer is a subtle disease. This cancer develops in the colon or the rectum and is the third most common cancer in the U.S. Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers because it usually starts as a non-cancerous growth called a polyp. Not all polyps will become cancerous, but those that do mutate will normally take several years. Medical screenings for colon and rectal cancer are an effective method for immediate and timely diagnosis and prevention of colon cancer. Prompt medical intervention can prevent painful surgery including permanent ostomy surgery and even death.
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most prevalent form of cancer. With an estimated 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year, the seriousness of this disease is in its lack of prevention. This type of cancer is subtle in that it develops slowly over the course of several years and symptoms relate to the location of the cancer. A polyp is usually the first sign of colorectal cancer and if this is removed the risk for cancer is decreased significantly or may be avoided altogether.
A physician has testing that can significantly increase the chance of early detection. The Fecal Occult Blood test, performed at home by the patient, identifies the overt presence of blood in the stool. A procedure called a flexible sigmoidoscopy can also be performed in the doctor’s office with a scope that can examine the rectum but cannot reach the colon. If there is any suspicion of colorectal concerns a colostomy should be performed immediately.
Providing a physician with a thorough family medical history is also very important in the early detection of colorectal cancer. For example, if there is a history of Lynch syndrome (a hereditary condition), then a colonoscopy should be done every one or two years starting at age 21. The standard age to begin yearly colonoscopies is age 50. Even without a family history of colorectal issues, there is a risk for this type of cancer. Early screening and detection are vital to surviving this devastating disease. For more information on Colon Cancer please review the American Cancer Society website.
If you feel that you or a loved one has been harmed due to a misdiagnosis or improper treatment of colorectal cancer, you may be eligible for damages. Call the Sweeney Law Firm and let our experts review the facts. You may have a medical malpractice case. If we decide to accept your case, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no fee for representation unless there is a settlement or fund recovery made on your behalf.