Even the idea that one might have colon cancer tends to bring up fear in most of people. It can hence feel very reassuring to have your physician say that you only have hemorrhoids and there is no need to worry about the blood in your stool. But this reassurance ought to only come after the physician has eliminated the likelihood of colon cancer (and other potentially dangerous gastrointestinal problems). Else, you might not learn that you have colon cancer until it is too late. If a physician who routinely assumes that claims of blood in the stool or rectal bleeding by a patient are due to hemorrhoids and it later turns out to be colon cancer, that physician may not have met the standard of care. Under those circimstances, the patient may have a legal claim against that doctor.
It is estimated that there are currently at least 10 million people with hemorrhoids. An additional 1,000,000 new cases of hemorrhoids will probably arise this year. In contrast, a little over the 100 thousand new cases of colon cancer that will be diagnosed this year. In addition, not all colon cancers bleed. If they do, the bleeding may be intermittent. And depending on where the cancer is in the colon, the blood might not even be visible in the stool. Perhaps it is in part as a result of the difference in the quantity of instances being identified that some physicians simply think that the existence of blood in the stool or rectal bleeding is from hemorrhoids. This is playing the odds. A doctor who reaches this conclusion is going to be correct greater than ninety percent of the time. It seems reasonable, doesn’t it? The problem, however, is that if the doctor is incorrect in this diagnosis, the patient may not learn he or she has colon cancer until it has developed to an advanced stage, perhaps even to the point where treatment is no longer effective.
If colon cancer is found while still contained within the colon, the individual’s chances of surviving the cancer are above eighty percent. The five year survival rate is a statistical guage of the percentage of patients who are still alive a minimum of 5 years following diagnosis. Treatment protocols for early stage colon cancer frequently entails only surgery so as to remove the cancerous growth and adjacent sections of the colon. Based on variables like how advanced the cancer is and the individual’s medical history (including family medical history), how old the person is, and the patient’s physical condition, chemotherapy may or may not be recommended.
For this reason physicians commonly advise that a colonoscopy ought to be completed right away if a patient has blood in the stool or rectal bleeding. A colonoscopy is a method that uses a flexible tube with a camera on the end is employed to see the inside of the colon. If anything is detected during the procedure, it might be possible to take it out immediately if it is not very big. In any case, it will be biopsied to check for cancer. Only if no cancer is detected during the colonoscopy can colon cancer be eliminated as a source of the blood.
However, if the cancer is not diagnosed until it has spread outside of the colon and has reached the lymph nodes, the person’s 5 year survival rate will generally be roughly 53%. Aside from surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding portions of the colon treatment for this stage of colon cancer calls for chemotherapy in an effort to eliminate any cancer that might remain in the body. When the cancer spreads to distant organs such as the liver, lungs, or brain, the patient’s five year survival rate is cut down to roughly 8%. Now treatment may entail surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other medications. Treatment might no longer be helpful when the cancer is this advanced. If treatment stops being helpful, colon cancer is fatal. This year, roughly 48,000 individuals will pass away in the U.S. from colon cancer metastasis.
By telling the patient that blood in the stool or rectal bleeding as caused by hemorrhoids without performing the appropriate tests to eliminate the possibility of colon cancer, a doctor puts the patient at risk of not finding out that the patient colon cancer before it progresses to an advanced, possibly no longer treatable, stage. This may constitute a departure from the accepted standard of medical care and may end in a medical malpractice claim.
In the event that you or a family member were assured by a doctor that blood in the stool or rectal bleeding were caused by only hemorrhoids, and have since been diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer, you ought to speak to a lawyer at once. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal (or medical) advice. For any medical issues you should seek advice from doctor. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based upon any information in this article but should instead seek professional legal counsel. A competent lawyer who is experienced in medical malpractice might be able to help you determine if you have a claim for a delay in the diagnosis of the colon cancer. Do not wait to consult with a lawyer are there is a time limit in claims such as these.