Failure to Diagnose Cancer of the Colon Lawyers
Cancers of the colon and rectum claim about 50,000 lives each year. Technically, colon cancer is cancer of the colon, the longest part of the large intestine, while rectal cancer is cancer of the rectum, the last few inches of the large intestine, but often the two types of cancer are lumped together as colorectal cancer and many people use the term colon cancer to refer to both types. Colon cancer has a higher mortality rate than either breast cancer or prostate cancer. This makes it especially crucial that people receive regular colon cancer screenings to detect this cancer early.
If you or a loved one had colon cancer that was not detected during early screening, resulting in death or the need for aggressive treatment, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be an option to recover damages for the expensive treatments and emotional injury you suffered as a result. Contact the Orlando, Florida personal injury lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter today for a free consultation to learn your legal rights.
Standard Test for Colon Cancer
Although there are some disagreements, most doctors and the National Cancer Institute agree that a properly performed colonoscopy is the most accurate and complete way to screen for colon cancer. Other tests are available, and many of them may be described as sufficient for your personal risk level, but a colonoscopy performed by a well-trained professional experienced in the procedure is the best tool for detecting cancerous and precancerous polyps in the large intestine. Exclusive use of other methods may lead to a failure to diagnose cancer.
A colonoscopy involves the insertion of a flexible device, known as an endoscope, that includes a camera and small manipulative tools that allow the operator to biopsy suspicious lesions and growths during the procedure.
Weaknesses of Colonoscopy
Almost all the weaknesses of the colonoscopy are related to operator error. When lesions are undetected, it may be considered medical malpractice.
One recent study showed that more lesions are missed on the right side of the intestine than on the left. In the study, about 70% of colonoscopies were performed by someone other than a trained gastroenterologist. Previous studies have shown that interns and general practitioners who perform colonoscopies miss more lesions than trained gastroenterologists.
In addition, studies have shown significant differences in the detection rate for cancerous and precancerous growths depending on the length of time between insertion and withdrawal of the endoscope. The American Society of Gastroenterologists (ASGE) says that six minutes is the standard withdrawal time, and a study has shown that gastroenterologists who take six minutes or more to perform a colonoscopy detect 2-3 times as many potentially cancerous lesions.
Following Up on Colonoscopy
During a colonoscopy, your screener should remove and/or sample any suspicious growths in your large intestine. These samples should be tested to determine if they are cancerous or benign. Failure to perform follow up testing of all suspicious growths can decrease the effectiveness of colonoscopy in protecting you from fatal colon cancer.
If you or a loved one had a delayed diagnosis of colon cancer that you believe may be the result of a doctor error, schedule a consultation with the Orlando, Florida medical malpractice lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter today to discuss your legal options.