Colon Cancer Malpractice
canceror cancer of the colon or rectumis
the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 56,600 Americans will die
of colorectal cancer this year. Colorectal cancer is also one of the
most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States; approximately
148,300 new cases will be diagnosed in 2002. For men, colorectal cancer
follows skin, prostate, and lung cancers in frequency; for women, it
follows skin, breast, and lung cancers.
Colon Cancer Misdiagnosis
Failing to properly evaluate complaints of rectal bleeding,
despite a plethora of medical literature available to physicians and
information disseminated to the public about its importance as a sign
of colon cancer for decades, continues to result in many, if not the
majority of the colon cancer deaths each year in the United States.
Prevention and Early Detection: Keys to Reducing Deaths
Reducing the number of deaths from colorectal cancer depends on detecting and removing precancerous colorectal polyps as well as detecting and treating the cancer in its early stages. Colorectal cancer can be prevented by removing precancerous polyps or growths, which can be present in the colon for years before invasive cancer develops.
Two tests have proven to be beneficial in screening for colorectal cancer
The fecal occult blood test (FOBT) detects blood that is not visible in a stool sample. One U.S. clinical trial reported a 33% reduction in colorectal cancer deaths and a 20% reduction in colorectal cancer incidence among people offered an annual FOBT. In trials elsewhere, screening every other year reduced colorectal cancer deaths 15% in the United Kingdom and 18% in Denmark.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a screening procedure that uses a hollow, lighted tube to visually inspect the wall of the rectum and part of the colon. In case-control studies, deaths from colorectal cancer within reach of the sigmoidoscope were 59% lower among people who had undergone a sigmoidoscopy than among those who had not undergone the procedure.
Two recommended tests for colorectal cancer screening
Colonoscopy a screening procedure that uses a hollow, lighted tube to visually inspect the internal wall of the rectum and the entire colon. Samples of tissue or cells may be collected for closer examination, or polyps may be removed during this procedure.
Double-contrast barium enema a series of X-rays of the colon and rectum taken after the patient is given an enema containing barium dye, followed by an injection of air.
These two tests are used to examine the interior wall of the entire colon and can be used as screening tests or as follow-up diagnostic tools when the results of another screening test are positive. Another procedure, called a digital rectal examination, involves a doctor inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for abnormal areas. This test inspects only a limited area and is not recommended as a screening method.
Several scientific organizations recommend regular screening for all adults aged 50 years of age or older. Recommended screening procedures include the following three tests
1) FOBT every year
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