March is Colon Cancer Awareness month, making it a good time to raise awareness about this aggressive form of cancer. This disease affects the lower part of the digestive system and can be fatal if not detected and treated early.
The Facts About Colon Cancer
Colon Cancer is a serious condition which doesn’t always have symptoms in early stages. Eventually, patients may experience:
- Ongoing abdominal pain
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Changes in bowel movements
- Unexpected weight loss
- Bleeding in stools
Every body is different, so each patient may experience different symptoms. To correctly diagnose cancer, doctors can use many diagnostic tools, including a computerized tomography scan or a colonoscopy. In order to get these tests, patients need to be referred for them by a doctor who suspects cancer or another serious illness.
Colon Cancer Misdiagnosis
Unfortunately, colon cancer is easily misdiagnosed as other conditions, including IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), food sensitivities, diverticulitis, and other non-life-threatening conditions. This can delay treatment and allow the cancer to spread, until a patient’s prognosis becomes less positive. If a misdiagnosis is made, cancer may not be detected until it has spread to other parts of the body. By then, more aggressive treatment may be needed or in some tragic cases treatment may no longer be an option.
Younger patients are especially likely to face missed diagnoses for colon cancer, because most cancers are more common in seniors. However, while less than 1% of young people are affected by colon cancer, the National Institute of Cancer reports that this cancer is on the rise among younger groups, with 18,000 Americans diagnosed with the illness each year. Unfortunately, while most patients over the age of 50 who have colon cancer are diagnosed at stage I or II, when the prognosis is good, 71% of young people are diagnosed at stage III or IV and most require seeing at least two doctors to get an accurate diagnosis.
To prevent misdiagnosis, seek a second opinion and trust your instincts. If you have faced cancer in the past or have a history of cancer in your family, make sure to share this information with your doctor. Continue to ask questions and ask whether colon cancer screening may be appropriate, especially if you have any symptoms or any history of cancer.
If you are misdiagnosed, consult with a Miami medical malpractice attorney. Cancer care, radiation, and related costs are very expensive and if your diagnosis has been delayed you may need to take significant time at work. Seeking fair compensation can help you secure the financial resources you need to pay for care, to replace lost income, and to care for yourself on your recovery journey.
To speak to a Miami misdiagnosis injury attorney, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free, no pressure and no obligation consultation. Our team has more than 60 years of combined experience and we have recovered over $100 million on behalf of injured plaintiffs, in addition to winning multi-million-dollar recoveries for individual plaintiffs. Contact us today to discuss the specifics of your potential claim.