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Colon cancer affecting younger individuals leading to misdiagnosis

There are many different reasons a person might end up filing a wrongful death lawsuit. One of those possibilities is a failure or delay in a diagnosis. There are a variety of scenarios that could contribute to a medical professional failing to recognize a disease or illness. One that recently affected a woman was a doctor's failure to order a test that could reveal the presence of colon cancer.

Several years ago the woman sought the assistance of a doctor complaining of diarrhea, vomiting, cramping, iron deficiency and extreme fatigue. Despite the fact that all of those symptoms pointed to colon cancer, a colonoscopy was apparently not originally conducted because of an assumption that at the then age of 44, she was too young for that to be a plausible reason for her illness.

While historically colon cancer has primarily affected an older population, there has recently been an increase, described as slow and steady, in its occurrence in those in their 40s. According to the American Cancer Society, in the nine year span between 1998 and 2007, there has been an increase of 2.1 percent in the rate of colorectal cancer occurring for individuals between the ages of 18 and 49.

One of the problems with a delay in diagnosing a disease such as colon cancer in a younger person is that usually when it is diagnosed, it is more advanced. When the woman in this case was ultimately given a colonoscopy and the Stage II cancer was diagnosed, the mass uncovered had spread through the wall of her intestine. After undergoing treatment, including the removal of three-fourths of her colon, seven years later she is thankfully cancer-free.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "More younger people getting colorectal cancer," Andrea K. Walker, July 29, 2012

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