(HealthyExaminer.com) – Going to the doctor is never easy, but it’s a natural human reaction to hope for and expect the best outcome. A cancer diagnosis might be among the worst fears of patients. But what happens when you discover that your colon cancer diagnosis was wrong?
Colon cancer misdiagnoses are more common than you might think. If you are misdiagnosed with colon cancer, you might change your lifestyle and embark on expensive and time-consuming medical treatments. Before you proceed, here’s what you should know.
What Can Lead to A False Diagnosis?
Colon cancer, or colorectal cancer, shares similar symptoms to other digestive conditions. These are the most common scenarios we see encountered:.
Misdiagnosis: A misdiagnosis happens when your doctor or other healthcare professional mistakes the symptoms you’re experiencing for an incorrect disease or disorder.
Delayed Diagnosis: A delayed diagnosis can happen if your healthcare practitioner doesn’t make the diagnosis efficiently, which could prevent you from seeking timely treatment should the diagnosis turn out to be cancer or another aggressive illness.
Failure to Diagnose: Misdiagnosis can also take place when your healthcare provider fails to identify the cause of your symptoms, especially if they don’t acknowledge your symptoms and run the proper tests to begin with. Failing to diagnose qualifies as a misdiagnosis.
Medical professionals use your symptoms, in addition to testing, to determine your diagnosis. Colorectal cancer, however, shares symptoms with the following conditions:
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Medical diagnostic tests are essential to rule out these conditions. An early diagnosis of colon cancer could just give you a fighting chance.
How Does This Impact Treatment?
Misdiagnosis can impact your treatment and cancer management options, particularly for people under the age of 45. Individuals over age 50 are recommended to have a yearly screening for colon cancer.
The primary impact of misdiagnosis is time. Early detection is key to accessing many of the available treatment options. As colon cancer progresses, available options will decrease as the mortality rate increases. Early detection could increase your chances of survival to over 91% for stage 1 patients. Allowing colon cancer to progress to stage 4 could reduce the survival rate to 11%.
While survival remains the primary consideration, cancer patients must also consider the cost of care. Early diagnosis means less expensive treatment options. Late-stage treatment options can be as much as triple the cost of early-stage interventions. The increased costs of care could place a significant burden on patients and their families.
What Help Should You Seek?
Misdiagnosis is serious. It can be a matter of life and death and can also impact your quality of life. In the event of a misdiagnosis, you should seek a second opinion. This could save you time, money, and emotional distress while you’re managing symptoms and help you determine the best course of treatment.
You can also retain the services of a malpractice attorney who can help you take appropriate action and potentially obtain appropriate compensation for the healthcare provider’s failure to diagnose you properly. This option could help you pay for expensive medical treatments.
Regular screening for early detection and a second opinion could make all the difference. Misdiagnoses in the United States could impact up to a staggering 12 million patients. Make sure you aren’t one of them!
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