Colon & Rectal Cancer

Misdiagnosis Lawyers for Victims Throughout Upstate New York

Signs of colon cancer include unexplained weight loss, weakness, rectal bleeding, diarrhea or constipation that lasts longer than four weeks, persistent abdominal discomfort, and the feeling that one's bowels are not completely emptying. Sometimes, in the early stages, there are no symptoms. Most colon cancer screenings start at age 50, but an earlier screening might be recommended for people who have risk factors, such as biological family members with colon cancer. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our experienced Syracuse cancer misdiagnosis attorneys can evaluate whether a doctor in Syracuse or Rochester negligently failed to diagnose colon or rectal cancer or another form of cancer, such as prostate cancer, when this would have been appropriate.

Colon and Rectal Cancer

Colon cancer develops when healthy cells within the colon start to have mistakes in their DNA and start to divide out of control. When these cells cumulate, they create a tumor, and over time, cancer cells may invade normal nearby tissues. People who notice signs of colon or rectal cancer should see their doctors. Most colon or rectal cancers take years to grow. Sometimes simply removing a polyp before it becomes malignant can stop this type of cancer from developing or metastasizing, which is why early detection procedures like colonoscopies are helpful. This is similar to certain other types of cancer, such as cervical cancer , for which early detection can make a huge difference. However, in some cases, doctors fail to order the appropriate tests even when presented with symptoms of colon cancer.

The survival rate if you catch colon cancer early in the process and before it spreads is more than 90%. This is one reason why it is recommended that colon cancer screenings start at age 50 or even earlier if there are risk factors. Doctors are supposed to recommend testing such as a colonoscopy to anybody who has common signs. Other tests that may be available are barium enemas, flexible sigmoidoscopies, and stool blood testing.

A doctor may err in failing to order any of these tests, failing to refer a patient to a gastroenterologist, failing to identify a polyp, failing to follow up on tests that were ordered, failing to visualize the whole colon during a colonoscopy, failing to coordinate with other providers, erring in the interpretation of samples of tissue, or failing to obtain family history about colon cancer.

When treatment is delayed, it may become necessary to surgically remove a colon rather than simply remove a polyp from it, and this may necessitate a colostomy bag with all of the challenges and embarrassment that this may entail. Often, a delay in diagnosis requires doctors to treat cancer more aggressively in other ways too, such as through radiation and chemotherapy. When a delay occurs, there is a greater chance of extreme physical pain, complete loss of bowel function, and in some cases, the patient's death.

To establish medical malpractice in the context of a failure to diagnose colorectal cancer, you will need to show that it is more likely than not that there was a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor breached the professional standard of care, the breach caused injuries, and actual damages arose from the breach. It will be important for your attorney to retain a credible and knowledgeable expert on the question of what your doctor should have done or not done (such as ordering a colonoscopy) and whether this action or omission caused your injuries.

If you can establish a medical malpractice case for a failure to diagnose colon or rectal cancer, you can recover compensatory damages. These damages may make up for treatment that was more invasive and aggressive than it would have been with a proper diagnosis, treatment that was significantly more expensive that it would have been had the cancer been diagnosed earlier, a significantly longer recovery time, rehabilitation, disability, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium, and lost wages. In some cases, a failure to diagnose colon cancer results in a premature death, and while no money can fully compensate for this, a premature death places a financial strain on family members. It is possible to hold a health care provider accountable for these costs through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Consult an Aggressive Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Syracuse or Rochester

If you are harmed due to a doctor's failure to diagnose colon or rectal cancer, or another form of cancer like bladder cancer, our attorneys may be able to help you recover damages from responsible parties. We represent injured patients in Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, Lyons, and all of Upstate New York. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.

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Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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