The second greatest number of cancer deaths is from colon cancer.. Every year, around forty eight thousand individuals will pass away from colon cancer. A large number of these fatalities could be avoided with early diagnosis and treatment through standard colon cancer screening of asymptomatic people.
If the disease is detected while it is still a small polyp in the course of a regularly scheduled screening test, such as a colonoscopy, the polyp can ordinarily be removed in the course of the colonoscopy without the requirement for the surgical removal of any segment of the colon. Once the polyp grows to the point where it turns cancerous and gets to Stage I or Stage II, the tumor and a part of the colon on each side of the tumore is surgical taken out. The chances that the person will survive the cancer is over ninety percent for Stage I and 73% for Stage II.
If the cancer reaches Stage 3, a colon resection is no longer sufficient. The individual will, furthermore, need to have chemotherapy. At this stage the chances that the person will outlive the cancer by at least five years falls to 53%, depending on such factors as the quantity of lymph nodes that contain cancer.
Once the colon cancer reaches Stage IV, treatment might require chemotherapy and perhaps additional drugs and even surgery on other organs. If the measurement and number of tumors in other organs (like the liver and lungs) are small enough, surgery to get rid of the cancer from those other organs might be the first treatment, followed by chemotherapy. Sometimes the dimensions or number of tumors in the different organs removes the possibility of surgery as a treatment.
If chemotherapy and additional drugs are able to reduce the number and size of these tumors, surgery might at that point turn out to be a viable second form of treatment. If not, chemotherapy and other drugs (perhaps through clinical trials) may for a time halt or limit the ongoing progression of the cancer. The relative 5-year survival rate is reduced to approximately 8%.
The statistics are clear. The time frame when the cancer is found and treated makes a significant difference. If detected and treated early, the person has a high likelihood of outliving the disease. When detection and treatment is delayed, the probability starts turning from the individual so that once the colon cancer progresses to Stage III, the percentage is almost 50/50. Plus the odds drop precipitously when the cancer metastasizes.
Yet, too frequently doctors fail to recommend standard cancer testing to their patients. By the time the cancer is eventually found - sometimes since the tumor has grown so large that it is leading to blockage, since the person has inexplicable anemia that is worsening, or since the person begins to detect other indications - the colon cancer is a Stage 3 or even a Stage 4. The individual now faces a much different prognosis than if the cancer had been discovered early through standard screening tests.
In medical malpractice terms, the patient has suffered a "loss of chance" of a better recovery. That is to say, because the doctor failed to advisev that the patient undergo routine screening test, the cancer is now much more advanced and the individual has a much lower chance of surviving the cancer. A physician may be liable for malpractice if he or she does not suggest cancer screening to a patient who subsequently is determined to have advanced colon cancer.
Joseph Hernandez is an attorney accepting cancer cases. To learn more about advanced colon cancer and stage 4 colon cancer cases visit the webiste.
by Joseph Hernandez