Sunday, December 4, 2011

Colon Cancer Metastasis Due To No Screening By Doctor Might Lead To A Medical Malpractice Claim by Joseph Hernandez

The second greatest number of cancer fatalities is from colon cancer.. Every year, around forty eight thousand men and women will die due to colon cancer. Many of these fatalities would be avoided with early detection and treatment by standard colon cancer screening of asymptomatic individuals.

If the cancer is detected as a small polyp in the course of a regularly scheduled screening procedure, like a colonoscopy, the polyp can generally be removed during the colonoscopy without the need for the surgical removal of any portion of the colon. Once the polyp grows to the point where it becomes cancerous and gets to Stage I or Stage II, the tumor and a part of the colon on both sides of the tumore is surgical removed. The chances that the individual will survive the cancer is over 90% for Stage 1 and 73% for Stage II.

In case the cancer reaches a Stage 3, surgery is no longer sufficient and the person also needs to undergo chemotherapy. The relative 5-year survival rate is reduced to fifty three percent, depending on such factors as how many lymph nodes that have cancer.

Once the colon cancer reaches Stage 4, treatment might require chemotherapy and perhaps other drugs and even surgery on other organs. Should the dimensions and quantity of tumors in different organs (such as the liver and lungs) are sufficiently few, surgery to get rid of the cancer from those other organs may be the first treatment, followed by chemotherapy. In some cases the size or quantity of tumors in the different organs removes the option of surgery as part of the treatment.

If chemotherapy and additional drugs can reduce the quantity and size of these tumors, surgery may then turn out to be a viable second form of treatment. Otherwise, chemotherapy and other drugs (possibly through clinical trials) may for a time stop or limit the ongoing spread of the cancer. The relative 5-year survival rate falls to around 8%.

The statistics are clear. The time frame in which the cancer is found and treated results in a dramatic difference. If diagnosed and treated early, the patient has an excellent chance of surviving the disease. As detection and treatment is delayed, the odds begin turning against the individual so that if the colon cancer advances to Stage III, the probability is almost even. Further the likelihood drops precipitously when the colon cancer gets to Stage 4.

However, all too often doctors do not suggest routine cancer screening to their patients. When the cancer is ultimately diagnosed - sometimes due to the fact that the tumor has become so large that it is resulting in blockage, since the person is losing blood internally and that condition is worsening, or since the individual begins to detect other indications - the cancer is a Stage 3 or even a Stage 4. The patient now faces a much different outlook than he or she would have if the cancer had been detected early by standard screening tests.

Attorneys who handle cancer cases often refer to this as a “loss of chance” of a better recovery. In other words, since the doctor did not recommend that the person have a routine screening test, the cancer is now considerably more advanced and the patient faces a much reduced chance of surviving the cancer. The failure of a physician to recommend the patient have screening options for colon cancer might constitute medical malpractice.