Delayed Diagnosis of Colon Cancer Lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA
Skilled Medical Malpractice Attorneys Seek Compensation for Victims of Colon Cancer Misdiagnosis in Butler County, Washington County, and Throughout Western Pennsylvania
Commonly known as colorectal cancer, colon cancer affects the colon (large intestine) and the rectum. Many cases of colon cancer start as polyps: non-cancerous growths that can be detected early on with screening. Without intervention, these benign growths may begin to divide uncontrollably, causing cancer.
Every year, there are thousands of diagnosed cases of colon cancer in the United States. Here at Matzus Law, founding attorney Jason Matzus is one of the top medical malpractice lawyers in Pennsylvania. He has handled numerous cases involving colon cancer claims and other medical malpractice claims in Pittsburgh, Butler, Washington, Greensburg, and elsewhere in Western PA. Contact us today if you’ve received a delayed diagnosis of cancer.
For answers to Frequently Asked Questions about PA medical malpractice claims for delayed diagnosis of colon cancer, check out the Matzus Law delayed diagnosis FAQ page.
Signs of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer may express itself differently, depending on the circumstances. Some patients might have severe abdominal pain, for example, while others might exhibit fewer pain symptoms and more visual symptoms such as bloody stool.
Basic indicators that suggest the presence of colon cancer include:
- Rectal bleeding.
- Blood in the stool.
- Tarry stools (discolored/dark).
- Severe abdominal pain.
- Abdominal tenderness.
- Constant fatigue.
- Bowel changes (including constipation and diarrhea).
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss.
Many of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer closely align with less-threatening conditions like IBS, routine infections, and/or hemorrhoids. If you experience these symptoms and a physician does not recommend further screening or testing, you may want to request a second opinion.
Physicians frequently exhibit a tendency to under-diagnose colon cancer, particularly in younger patients, as there are various other medical explanations for the symptoms. A physician might casually ignore the possibility of colon cancer and challenge the patient to alter their diet, for example, without ever ordering a test to ensure that the symptoms are not actually indicative of colon cancer.
Though it might be challenging for physicians to differentiate between early stage colon cancer and other causes, identification benefits a great deal from consideration of the risk factors. Risk factors for colon cancer include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
- Old age (60+ years old)
- Family history
- Medical history involving cancer
- Presence of polyps
- Diet (processed food and red meat)
Your physician may be guilty of medical negligence if he or she failed to recommend proper screening after noticing symptoms or if he or she knew about your history of cancer. Similarly, neglecting to act on abnormal test results from a screening procedure like the colonoscopy could also lead to a delayed diagnosis – and may also constitute medical negligence.
Diagnosing Colon Cancer & Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania
Healthcare professionals rarely recommend routine colonoscopies for individuals under the age of 60, despite the fact that the signs and symptoms of colon cancer can be detected in younger individuals.
A healthcare professional’s failure to order early tests could be fatal. Undiscovered polyps may develop into an injury-causing or life-threatening cancer. In fact, colorectal cancers count among the top five most dangerous cancers in both men and women.
Although treating healthcare professionals are not expected to be perfect, they must act reasonably (and order the necessary tests) when presented with signs of colon cancer. Tests for colon cancer include:
- High Sensitivity Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
- Digital exam for detecting rectal masses
- Lab test to check for anemia and liver function
Being diagnosed with a severe case of colon cancer at a later date could be indicative of medical malpractice. Physicians who routinely and adequately screen their patients may be more likely to “catch” the presence of polyps before they become cancerous.
The Truth About Colonoscopies
If you have a history of colon conditions, including cancer, tell your doctor and ask for routine screenings at an earlier age than the average recommendation. Routine screening colonoscopies are often the best tool for identifying cancerous and precancerous polyps in the colon. In fact, doctors typically recommend annual colonoscopies for anyone over the age of 50 or 60.
Though there are alternatives if you cannot or do not want to go through a colonoscopy screening, it’s worth noting that the procedure is not as uncomfortable as it sounds. Moreover, it could save your life — so consider your choices carefully!
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Delayed Colon Cancer Diagnosis Attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Any time your physician fails to act reasonably in light of evidence of cancer and that failure to act causes you harm, including the spread of cancer, they physician may be guilty of medical malpractice. Each medical malpractice case is different, which is why you should contact the experienced Pittsburgh medical malpractice lawyers at Matzus Law today to address concerns regarding your medical care and colon cancer diagnosis.
A thorough understanding of medical practice and compelling evidence that a physician acted in violation of a reasonable standard of care will likely be necessary to prove your malpractice case. Here at Matzus Law, our Pittsburgh medical malpractice team is led by one of the best medical malpractice attorneys in Pennsylvania: Jason Matzus. Attorney Matzus reviews every case our team takes and has access to a range of investigative resources to prove negligence and obtain full and fair compensation for our clients.
If you have questions regarding a colon cancer diagnosis, reach out to Matzus Law in Pittsburgh for a free case evaluation. Let us help you obtain the compensation you deserve after suffering from medical negligence or malpractice in Pennsylvania.