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Colon cancer misdiagnosed more frequently in younger patients

Georgia residents should know that clinical misdiagnoses may be behind the sharp increase in patients 50 or younger who have stage 3 or 4 colorectal cancer (colon cancer). A study from the Colorectal Cancer Alliance shows that 71 percent of patients under 50 have stage 3 or 4 colon cancer, whereas patients over 50 are more likely to be diagnosed with stage 1 or 2 colon cancer.

These conclusions are based on the testimony of 1,195 respondents. Of these, 63 percent said they had to wait between three and 12 months to be screened for the cancer. Many of these patients did not get an accurate diagnosis until they had seen two to four physicians.

Younger patients are more likely to be treated for conditions that share some of the symptoms of colon cancer, such as hemorrhoids or inflammatory bowel syndrome. These shared symptoms include constipation, fatigue and weight loss.

Colorectal cancer is not a condition limited to the elderly, so those who believe something is wrong will want to be screened right away. There is actually a way to perform at-home screening; it is a fecal immunochemical test that checks for any blood in a person’s stool. Blood can signify the formation of colon polyps. The FIT correctly diagnosed 75 to 80 percent of colon cancer cases among the test subjects.

Those who wish to file a malpractice claim because their doctor did not diagnose their cancer may want to know what the requirements are for a valid claim. It must be shown that their doctor failed to live up to a generally accepted standard of medical care and that this contributed to the misdiagnosis. A preexisting doctor-patient relationship is another requirement. A lawyer might be better able to evaluate one’s case, and if retained, he or she may negotiate for the settlement.