Doctors failing to diagnose young patients with colorectal cancer

Statistics suggest that colorectal cancer is one of the top three most commonly diagnosed cancers in the U.S. Colorectal cancer is also the second most fatal cancer amongst men and women. Fortunately, research efforts and improvements in technology over the past 20 years have made it easier for doctors in Illinois and throughout the entire U.S. to screen patients for colorectal cancer.

By taking certain precautions, doctors and patients can now prevent colorectal cancer from developing and spreading. However, not all doctors properly screen patients — especially younger patients — for colorectal cancer. The failure to screen a patient for colorectal cancer could result in a deadly misdiagnosis.

Although doctors know more about colorectal cancer and its symptoms and treatment options for patients from extensive research and medical studies, doctors cannot always rely on this research or past experiences with patients who were diagnosed with the disease when attempting to diagnose other patients who suffer from concerning health problems.

Colorectal cancer more commonly affects people who are 50 years old or older. However, newer research suggests that the cancer is starting to affect people who are much younger. Because many doctors don’t think that a young adult can develop colorectal cancer, some young patients are not being diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer when they should be diagnosed with the disease.

Last month, the Colon Cancer Alliance held a conference to increase awareness of this issue amongst patients and doctors. Hopefully, doctors in Will County and throughout the entire U.S. will make sure that they properly screen younger patients who have symptoms of colorectal cancer.

Failing to diagnose young patients with colorectal cancer because doctors neglected to screen a patient for the cancer, despite warning signs, is a form of medical malpractice. This negligence could result in one’s cancer spreading. In worst case scenarios, young patients might never have the option of receiving treatment that could have saved their lives.

Source: Baltimore Sun, “More younger people getting colorectal cancer,” Andrea K. Walker, July 29, 2012

Failure to Diagnose


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