Colorectal cancer, commonly known as colon cancer or bowel cancer, is the third leading cause of cancer-related fatalities and it is estimated it will cause more than 50,000 deaths in 2013. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, benign or non-cancerous clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. If left untreated, some of the polyps can become cancerous or develop into adenocarcinomas.
Patients whose cancer is caught in the earliest stage have an excellent average five-year survival rate. However, if there is a delay in diagnosing colon cancer and it leads to lymph node involvement, the five-year survival rate drops to below 50 percent, while very few patients with distant metastases to the liver and lungs survive.
If your doctor suspects you may have colon cancer, he or she may order a colonoscopy, which allows your doctor to look for polyps or abnormal cells in your colon. If a suspicious area is found, a sample of tissue from the colon will be removed and sent to the pathology lab to test for cancer cells. Other tests such as a barium enema study, CT scan, proctoscopy or sigmoidoscopy may also be performed to make an early diagnosis of colon cancer. Any delay in diagnosing colon cancer or missed diagnosis can significantly reduce life expectancy.
If you or a loved one were the victim of medical malpractice involving a delay in diagnosing cancer, you should contact a cancer lawyer for a free review of a possible cancer lawsuit. The information will allow you to learn how you can find a cancer attorney near you.