Failure to Order Colonoscopies Increases Risks of Misdiagnosing Colon Cancer

According to the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources, colorectal cancer is the state’s second leading cause of cancer-related death. This type of cancer can be easily treated when it is detected in the early stages. Unfortunately, early detection is less likely when medical professionals fail to order colonoscopies or order them too late. When people seek medical care because of symptoms common in this type of cancer — such as diarrhea, constipation, bloody stools, and abdominal bloating or pain — they may find their concerns dismissed by a doctor who fails to recognize the seriousness of their condition.  It is not uncommon for some of the early signs of colon cancer to be misdiagnosed as hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or another less serious problem. Doctors who choose not to recommend or perform colonoscopies when they are medically advisable put their patients at risk. If a doctor makes a diagnosis before using this standard diagnostic procedure to search for the underlying causes of a patient’s symptoms, the patient may undergo a treatment plan that does nothing to help their actual illness and hinders their chances of recovery. The American Cancer Society lists the five-year survival rate of people diagnosed with Stage I colon cancer as 92 percent, while the five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with Stage IV cancer is just 12 percent. These statistics indicate that misdiagnosis or late diagnosis due to colonoscopies not being performed at an early point in a patient’s treatment can mean the difference between life and death. If you learn that you have colon cancer after your doctor failed to diagnose it through a colonoscopy when your symptoms warranted that procedure, you may have a medical malpractice case. At Calwell Luce diTrapano PLLC, we understand how agonizing and life-altering an incorrect medical diagnosis can be, affecting not only you but also your loved ones. From our office in Charleston, we help victims of medical negligence in West Virginia to seek monetary compensation for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Call us at 800-876-5529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a caring and qualified lawyer.