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Cancer: Not just affecting older adults

When you're young, you don't usually think about things like cancer, heart disease or other serious illnesses. Those are generally conditions that affect an older population. Unfortunately, that line of thinking can result in a misdiagnosis. Many younger people do struggle with cancer, and it's important that physicians recognize the signs. If they don't, then you could suffer the consequences and be left facing a serious health matter.

The warning signs of young adult cancer can be missed because they often appear like the symptoms of other, less dangerous, illnesses. It's true that those between the ages of 15 and 39 are often misdiagnosed during the earlier stages of cancer because of this and other factors. For instance, most younger adults don't seek medical attention unless it's for an urgent illness. Going to a doctor may not be high on a list of priorities when a young person is first living alone or learning to be independent. People in this age group are also less likely to have health insurance, which means they're less likely to go to the doctor.

Cancer is frequently misconstrued as being a disease that affects mainly older adults, but that's not the case. Young adults who suffer from cancer are more likely to have aggressive forms of the disease, and the types are more likely to be rare and harder to diagnose. Recognizing early symptoms is important, though, because if doctors fail to do so, patients may not get correctly diagnosed until they're in the later stages of cancer which is much harder to treat. Early detection saves lives.

If your cancer went undetected, you may have a cause of action for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Source: Roswell Park Cancer Institute, "Young Adult Cancer: How to Avoid Misdiagnosis," accessed June 22, 2016

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