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Not Following The Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines May Delay Diagnosis

Colon cancer is the second major cause of deaths due to cancer. Each year, about 48,000 people will pass away as a result of colon cancer. A large number of these deaths would be avoided with early detection and treatment by standard colon cancer testing of asymptomatic people.
If the disease is found while it is still a small polyp in the course of a regularly scheduled screening test, like a colonoscopy, the polyp can frequently be removed in the course of the colonoscopy without the requirement for the surgical removal of any portion of the colon. Once the polyp grows to the point where it becomes cancerous and gets to Stage I or Stage II, the tumor and a part of the colon on both sides of the tumore is surgical taken out. The relative 5-year survival rate is over ninety percent for Stage 1 and 73% for Stage 2.
When the disease advancesto a Stage III, a colon resection is not enough and the patient also needs to undergo chemotherapy. At this stage the chances that the patient will outlive the cancer by at least five years drops to fifty three percent, depending on such factors as the number of lymph nodes that contain cancer.
Once the colon cancer reaches Stage 4, treatment may necessitate undergoing chemotherapy and possibly additional drugs and even surgery on other organs. Should the dimensions and quantity of tumors in different organs (for example, the liver and lungs) are sufficiently few, surgery to get rid of the cancer from those other organs might be the first treatment, then chemotherapy. Sometimes the dimensions or quantity of tumors in the different organs takes away the choice of surgery as a treatment.
If chemotherapy and different drugs can reduce the quantity and size of these tumors, surgery may at that point turn out to be a viable follow up treatment. Otherwise, chemotherapy and various drugs (possibly through clinical trials) might for a time halt or limit the continued spread of the cancer. With metastasis the person's possibility of surviving the cancer for greater than 5 years after diagnosis falls to around 8%.
The statistics are clear. The time frame wherein the colon cancer is diagnosed and treated makes a dramatic difference. If found and treated early, the patient has an excellent chance of surviving the disease. When diagnosis and treatment is delayed, the chances start turning against the person so that once the colon cancer gets to Stage III, the percentage is almost 50/50. And the likelihood declines greatly once the colon cancer metastasizes.
However, all too often physicians do not advise routine cancer testing to their patients. By the time the cancer is finally discovered - sometimes because the tumor has grown so large that it is resulting in blockage, since the patient is losing blood internally and that condition is getting progressively worse, or because the individual begins to detect other indications - the colon cancer is a Stage 3 or even a Stage 4. The individual now confronts a very different outlook than he or she would have if the cancer had been discovered early by routine screening tests.
In medical malpractice terms, the individual has sustained a "loss of chance" of a better recovery. In other words, since the doctor did not advisev that the person undergo routine screening test, the cancer is now considerably more advanced and the person faces a much reduced chance of outliving the cancer. The failure of a physician to recommend the person have screening options for colon cancer might amount to medical malpractice.
You need to consult with an attorney without delay should you feel your colon cancer was not diagnosed until it had already reached an advanced stage because of a doctor's failure to recommend routine colon cancer screening. This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal (or medical) advice. For any health concerns your should consult with a doctor. Should you suspect you might have a medical malpractice claim you should seek professional legal counsel immediately. A competent lawyer experienced in handling cancer cases can help you determine if you have a claim for a delay in the diagnosis of colon cancer as a result of a failure on the part of a doctor to recommend colon cancer screening. The law limits the amount of time you have to pursue a case so call a lawyer immediately.
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