1Diagnosed With Metastatic Colon Cancer Was The Delay Caused By Your Doctor|Diagnosed With Metastatic Colon Cancer Was The Delay Caused By Your Doctor

Legal Imagine a doctor telling a patient not to worry about the blood he or she is seeing in their stool – that it is probably just hemorrhoids. Then, some time afterwards this individual finds out that the bleeding was in fact the result of a cancerous tumor in the colon. The person now has advanced colon cancer that has progressed to the lymph nodes or even to a distant organ, like the liver or the lungs. How does this happen and what options does the patient and his or her family have if it does? The first thing to note is that most physicians concur that if someone reports rectal bleeding or blood in the stool a colonoscopy ought to be done so as to determine the source of the blood. The colonoscopy helps figure out if the blood is the result of colon cancer or something else such as hemorrhoids. But merely assuming that the blood is due to hemorrhoids risks a delay in diagnosing a cancer. Colon cancer is a disease that progresses over time. As it advances it becomes more difficult to treat effectively. For instance, while it is contained inside the colon treatment ordinarily involves surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding portions of the colon. Chemotherapy is often not used in the treatment of stage 1 and stage 2 unless it may be given to someone who is young as a precautionary treatment. With surgery, the person with stage 1 or stage 2 has an excellent chance of surviving the disease for at least five years after diagnosis. The relative 5-year survival rate is over ninety percent for stage I and seventy three percent for stage II. By the time the cancer progresses to stage 3, it has spread outside the colon. At this stage treatment calls for both surgery and chemotherapy (possibly with additional drugs ). The relative 5-year survival rate for stage 3 is fifty three percent. If it progress to stage 4, the relative 5-year survival rate is reduced to around eight percent. Treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other medications may or may not still be effective. Once treatment stops being effective, the disease becomes fatal. Approximately forty eight thousand people will die from colon cancer this year alone. If the patient with rectal bleeding gets a colonoscopy and the tumor is found prior to spreading to the lymph nodes or to other organs, it can often be taken out during the colonoscopy if it is sufficiently small or by surgically extracting the section of the colon containing the tumor. Hence the additional time before diagnosis and treatmenet may be sufficient for the cancer to get an advanced stage. This means the patient will need to undergo additional treatments and will have a drastically lowered likelihood of living for at least five years beyond diagnosis. Depending on the laws of the jurisdiction in which the doctor caused the delay, this may give rise to a case for medical malpractice, or in the most extreme case, for wrongful death. About the Author: