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Colon cancer misdiagnosis more common for younger patients

Stage 3 and 4 colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, is being found more among patients under the age of 50, and some experts believe this is due to the frequency of clinical misdiagnoses. California residents should know that colon cancer does not affect the elderly only. Still, many doctors tend to diagnose colon cancer as hemorrhoids or inflammatory bowel syndrome because these conditions share symptoms like fatigue, weight loss and constipation.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance conducted a study involving 1,195 respondents. Those who were over the age of 50 were more likely to be diagnosed with stage 1 or 2 colon cancer whereas 71 percent of patients under 50 had stage 3 or 4 colon cancer. Many had to see two to four physicians before getting an accurate diagnosis. Sixty-three percent said they waited three to 12 months before they were even screened for the cancer.

There is, however, a way for those who suspect they have colon cancer to screen themselves at home: the fecal immunochemical test. This tests for blood in one's stool, which could signal the formation of colon polyps. In one experiment, it was able to correctly diagnose colorectal cancer in 75 to 80 percent of individuals. It was also the subject of an article published in February 2019 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

When malpractice is involved in a doctor's failure to diagnose a condition, there may be grounds for a claim. Malpractice claims end in some of the highest settlements of any personal injury cases, so it may be advisable to hire a lawyer before beginning the filing process. A lawyer might request an inquiry with the local medical board and hire third parties to make their own investigation. Victims may let their lawyer speak on their behalf at the negotiation table or in court.

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