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Why does colon cancer often go misdiagnosed?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2018 | medical malpractice

One projection published by the American Cancer Society (ACS) earlier in 2018 showed that they expect as many as 97,220 new patients to be diagnosed with colon cancer this year. Another study carried out by researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in 2014 showed that one out of every 20 Americans receive misdiagnoses every year.

Fortunately, only .0007 percent of those misdiagnoses are for colon cancer. Even though that seems like a small number, these types of doctor errors result in delayed treatment and thus pain and suffering for patients. In other cases, misdiagnoses rob countless individuals of their lives far too soon. There are a number of different reasons misdiagnoses occur.

They often occur because a doctor misinterprets test results. In some cases, the choice of test your doctor orders may be wrong for the symptoms you’re presenting with or they produce false-positive results.

More common than all of this, however, is when a doctor either doesn’t fully listen to all the symptoms you describe and/or minimizes just how serious they are. Far too many cases of misdiagnoses are caused by doctors telling patients they are ill with one condition when in reality it’s something completely different. This can greatly impact the course of treatment a patient receives.

What many don’t realize is that colon cancer doesn’t take hold of a patient’s body in an instant. Instead, early abnormal cells or polyps begin developing as long as 15 years prior. Over time, they develop into colon cancer.

While most health warnings suggest that all American adults age 50 and older get routine screenings, approximately one-half doesn’t. Many patients ignore risk factors such as a family history of the disease, abdominal pain or discomfort, unexplained fatigue or weight loss, rectal bleeding or constipation intermittent with diarrhea.

The ACS notes that those with a highest colon cancer fatality rate are those who live in the American South, who belong to racial minority groups, and those with either a high school diploma or less education.

Those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or who have ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease are also at increased risk for contracting colon cancer.

If you’ve been diagnosed as having a health condition that was later determined to be colon cancer, then a Chicago medical malpractice attorney can advise you of your right to file a lawsuit.

Source: Fox News Health, “5 surprising facts about colon cancer,” accessed May 18, 2018