Doctors need to do a better job of encouraging people to get appropriate screenings for cancer. This is particularly true of colon cancer, the third most deadly type of cancer.
The American Cancer Society recently urged increased screening in order to reduce the number of cases of colon cancer. Although the rate of colon cancer has been falling in recent decades, it still kills almost 50,000 people a year. About 141,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with colon cancer this year, with 49,000 people likely to die from it. Failure to diagnose cancer therefore remains truly a matter of life and death.
But only about half of people over age 50 are up-to-date on colon cancer screening, according to the Cancer Society. That isn't high enough, especially when many colorectal cancer cases could be avoided.
Proper screening is therefore vital. Doctors should encourage patients to follow through on getting colonoscopies and other proper tests to detect signs of cancer. That way, if benign growths can be detected in time, they can be removed before harm is done.
Doctors should also do more to educate patients on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. That is another good way, along with screening, to prevent colon cancer.
If you or someone in your family has colon cancer and believes that a doctor failed to diagnose it properly, talk with us in a free initial consultation. We can assess your case and tell you what your legal options are.
Source: "Colon Cancer Deaths May be Prevented With Increased Screenings," Bloomberg Businessweek, 3-2-11