Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine, which is also known as the “colon,” – the lower part of the digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last six inches of the colon. Both these are often referred together as colorectal cancers.
About 112,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with colon cancer every year and at least 41,000 people are diagnosed with rectal cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Most of these colon cancer cases begin as small noncancerous clumps of cells called polyps. Over time, misdiagnosed polyps become colon cancers.
Regular screening tests can help prevent colon cancer by indentifying polyps before they become cancerous. The most common symptoms of colon cancer include:
A change in bowel habits – diarrhea or constipation
Abdominal pain or cramping
Fatigue and general weakness
Unexplained weight loss
If you display any of these symptoms and if your doctor suspects you have colon cancer, he or she may recommend a colonoscopy, which allows your doctor to look for polyps or unusual areas in your colon. Part of this examination is to remove a sample of tissue from the colon to examine for cancer cells. Other tests such as barium enema or flexible sigmoidoscopy may also be used to diagnose colon cancer.
If your doctor fails to follow these guidelines for diagnosis or if he or she did not detect a cancerous polyp during a digital rectal exam, you may be a victim of medical malpractice. You may also be entitled to file a medical malpractice claim if your doctor failed to order testing when you described a symptom of colon cancer or if he or she misinterpreted the results of a biopsy. You are a victim if your doctor did not promptly treat your colon cancer after abnormal test results. Failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of colon cancer could turn out to be fatal for the patient. Prompt treatment and follow-up treatment is also vital to prevent recurrence of the cancer.
If you believe you or a loved one suffered because your doctor failed to diagnose colon cancer, you should seek the counsel of a competent and experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney immediately. The Philadelphia failure to diagnose colon cancer attorneys at Anapol Schwartz specialize in medical malpractice and “failure to diagnose” cases. We have the resources and relationships with experts nationwide to get to the root of your problem and your case and hold the negligent parties accountable for their wrongdoing.