The second largest number of cancer fatalities is from colon cancer.. Every year, about 48,000 men and women will pass away from colon cancer. Many of these deaths could be prevented with early diagnosis and treatment by routine colon cancer testing of asymptomatic people.
When the disease is detected while it is still a small polyp in the course of a routine screening test, such as a colonoscopy, the polyp might be able to be taken out during the colonoscopy. At this point, there is no requirement for the surgical removal of any segment of the colon. In the event the polyp grows into a tumor and reaches Stage 1 or Stage 2, the tumor and a section of the colon on both sides of the tumore is surgical removed. The odds that the person will survive the cancer is over ninety percent for Stage 1 and 73% for Stage 2.
When the cancer gets to a Stage III, surgery is no longer sufficient and the person also needs to undergo chemotherapy. The relative 5-year survival rate drops to fifty three percent, depending on such variables as the number of lymph nodes that show up positive for cancer.
As soon as the colon cancer metastasizes, treatment might call for undergoing chemotherapy and perhaps other drugs and even surgery on other organs. In case the size and number of tumors in other organs (such as the liver and lungs) are sufficiently few, surgery to eliminate the cancer from those other organs might be the initial treatment, followed by chemotherapy. In some cases the size or quantity of tumors in the other organs removes the option of surgery as a treatment.
If chemotherapy and other drugs are able to lower the quantity and dimensions of these tumors, surgery may at that point turn out to be an option as the second form of treatment. If not, chemotherapy and various drugs (possibly through clinical trials) may temporarily halt or lessen the ongoing spread of the cancer. With metastasis the person’s chance of outliving the cancer for greater than five years subsequent to diagnosis falls to approximately 8%.
The statistics are clear. The time frame in which the colon cancer is diagnosed and treated makes a significant difference. If detected and treated early, the individual has a high likelihood of outliving the cancer. As detection and treatment is delayed, the probability starts shifting from the person so that once the colon cancer advances to the lymph nodes, the probability is almost 50/50. Further the chances decrease precipitously once the colon cancer metastasizes.
However, too frequently doctors do not recommend standard cancer screening to their patients. When the cancer is finally diagnosed – many times due to the fact that the tumor has grown so large that it is leading to blockage, because the individual is losing blood internally and that condition is worsening, or since the individual begins to detect other indications – the colon cancer has already advanced to a Stage 3 or even a Stage 4. The patient now confronts a much different outlook than he or she would have if the cancer had been diagnosed early by routine screening tests.
Attorneys who handle cancer cases often refer to this as a “loss of chance” of a better recovery. That is to say, since the doctor did not advisev that the patient have a routine screening test, the cancer is now considerably more advanced and the person has a much reduced likelihood of outliving the cancer. The failure of a physician to recommend the individual undergo screening options for colon cancer might constitute medical malpractice.
You need to contact a lawyer at once if you feel your colon cancer was not diagnosed until it had already reached an advanced stage due to a physician’s not suggesting routine colon cancer screening. This article is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal (or medical) advice. For any health concerns, contact a physician. If you believe you may have a medical malpractice case contact an attorney without delay. A competent lawyer experienced in handling cancer cases can help you determine whether you have a claim for a delay in the diagnosis of colon cancer from a failure on the part of a doctor to recommend colon cancer screening. The law limits the amount of time you have to pursue a case so do not wait to call an attorney.