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Cancer Misdiagnosis: Colorectal Cancer

Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuits in New York

The term colorectal cancer refers to colon and rectal cancer combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer affects over 140,000 people every year. In one year, it was also estimated that over 50,000 people died from colorectal cancer in the U.S. So what exactly is colorectal cancer and how can it be treated?

Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon and rectum. The colon is part of the digestive system and connects the small intestine to the rectum. It is approximately six feet long and is a part of the large intestine, along with the rectum. The function of this organ is to aid the body in removing waste material. It not only removes water from the stool, but it stores the stool before it is moved to the rectum. The other portion of the large intestine is the rectum. The rectum is 8 inches long and connects the colon to the anus.

When cells either in the colon or the rectum begin to grow at too high of a rate, a tumor can form. If the tumor begins in the colon, it is colon cancer, but if it begins in the rectum, it is rectal cancer. Both of these types of cancer can be referred to by their combined name of colorectal cancer. This type of cancer is extremely serious. Out of all the different types of cancers, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death among people in the U.S. Another fact about this type of cancer which makes them dangerous is that no symptoms may arise during its early stages. This makes it more difficult to diagnose and treat properly.

Causes of Colorectal Cancer

Most instances of colorectal cancer can be traced back to a growth in the colon known as a polyp. A polyp is simply a growth that can either be cancerous or non-cancerous. Hyperplastic and inflammatory polyps are one of the more common forms of polyps found in the colon and rectum but they do not usually lead to cancer. The other common types of polyps are adenomas. These forms of polyps have a higher likelihood of developing into cancer. As is true for many other types of cancer, the real cause of colorectal cancer is not known. There are some situations, however, which have been shown to cause an increased chance of cancer.

If a person has had cases of colon or rectal cancer in their family history, this could be a sign that they will develop this type of cancer. Other medical conditions like Turcot's syndrome, Cowden's disease, and MYH-associated polyposis could lead to the early formation of polyps and so an increased chance of colorectal cancer. It has also been suggested that what a person eats could affect whether or not they develop colorectal cancer. For example, people who have eaten a diet high in fat, protein, and red meat may be more likely to get this type of cancer.

Medical Malpractice & Colorectal Cancer

In order to diagnose colorectal cancer, periodic screenings should take place to check for the presence of this cancer. Stool samples can be taken and digital rectal exams performed to check at-risk patients. Biopsies may also be taken to diagnose this cancer. If a doctor or medical professional was negligent in the diagnosis of a patient and this lead to the further development of their cancer, they need to be held responsible for what they have done. Contact our team at the Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein, PC if you believe that you have a medical malpractice case. Call a malpractice lawyer today!

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