The Law Offices of John Phebus

Colorectal cancer notoriously difficult to diagnose early

Embarrassment delays some people in Arizona from going to the doctor when they experience gastrointestinal symptoms. When they do seek care, their symptoms might be similar to many types of digestive tract disorders, and a misdiagnosis might impede the early detection of colorectal cancer.

A long list of medical problems, including hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease and Crohn's disease, can be confused with colorectal cancer. Doctors might associate abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea or rectal bleeding reported by patients with another problem that produces the same symptoms. For example, an intestinal mass might be attributed to an ovarian cyst, an appendix problem or lymphoma.

The lack of symptoms when colon cancer begins inside the body also thwarts efforts to diagnose the disease. When symptoms do arise, older people might shrug them off because they think that a poor diet is causing the constipation. When colorectal cancer goes undetected, the consequences for patients can be dire because treatments succeed most often when applied during the disease's early stages. Because of the barriers to early diagnosis, colon cancer is the fifth most common subject of malpractice lawsuits.

Common complaints cited in these types of medical professional negligence claims include failing to detect important symptoms or not following up after an abnormal test result. A person who misses opportunities for treatment because of substandard medical care might work with an attorney to recover damages through the legal system. An attorney could obtain testimony from an independent medical expert to build a strong case. Information about the extent of the patient's financial costs and pain and suffering could be presented by the attorney during negotiations with the health care provider's insurance company.

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