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Colorectal Cancer: A Killer That Can’t Be Overlooked

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second deadliest in the United States. Each year, approximately 145,000 people are diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer. Combined, these two types of cancer cause 56,000 deaths per year.

If detected early, colon and rectal cancer are curable by surgery. Long-term survival correlates with the stage at diagnosis of the disease in colorectal cancer.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms?

Symptoms of colorectal cancer may include:

  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding (occult or overt)
  • Mucus per rectum
  • Weight loss

Given the high incidence of colorectal cancer, doctors have an obligation to take symptoms seriously, especially in patients with risk factors such as:

  • Age (50 and older)
  • Genetic predisposition such as hereditary nonpolyposis and polyposis syndromes
  • Consuming a diet that is high in cholesterol and fat
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis)

How Is It Detected?

Routine screenings are essential for catching colorectal cancer early. These screenings may include:

  • Fecal occult blood tests
  • Colonoscopies
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopies
  • Digital rectal examinations
  • Barium enemas
  • Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) tests

If your doctor doesn’t recommend the right screenings, you could end up with a delayed diagnosis that limits your treatment options.

What’s The Prognosis?

When it comes to colorectal cancer, early detection is critical for saving lives. The overall five-year survival rate from colon cancer is approximately 60 percent. However, it depends on the stage. If caught early enough, certain types of colorectal cancer have a survival rate of 90 percent. Once the cancer progresses and becomes metastatic, however, that rate plummets to 5 percent.

Victim Of A Missed Or Delayed Diagnosis?

If you think diagnostic errors may have deprived you of the chance for meaningful treatment, contact the “Law Doctors” at the Massachusetts law firm of Barry D. Lang, M.D. & Associates. We have doctors on staff to thoroughly evaluate your situation. If negligence contributed to your poor prognosis (or that of a loved one), you can count on our attorneys to fight for you.

Discuss your options during a free consultation by calling 1-877-LAW-DOCS . Located in the Boston area, we can come to you if needed.