Every year, more than 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from this disease. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the United States.
Colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but many people are not being screened according to national guidelines, and oftentimes physicians ignore the signs and symptoms of colon cancer or rectal cancer until it is at an advanced stage.
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer? Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. Symptoms for colorectal cancer may include blood in or on the stool (bowel movement), stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away, losing weight without dieting or increases in exercise and you don’t know why. These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but if you are having any of these symptoms, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.
Most people should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, even if they don’t have any symptoms, and most patients should continue to get regular screenings. These screening tests could include colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy and a fecal occult blood test (FOBT), also known as a stool test to determine if there is bleeding inside the colon or rectum which could be a sign of colorectal cancer.
Some conditions raise a patient’s risk for colorectal cancer. These include: inflammatory bowel disease, a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer, or genetic syndromes like familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (also known as Lynch syndrome).
If you are 50 years old or older, or think you may have a higher risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about getting screened. There has been a lot of success in treating colon cancer and rectal cancer, but the key is early diagnosis.
ATTENTION: If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with advanced or late stage colon cancer or rectal cancer, and you feel that a physician should have diagnosed it sooner, you may have legal recourse to receive compensation for those injuries. For a free consultation with the medical malpractice lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP please call our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 1-800-988-8005 or submit an email inquiry (see form above).