Colon cancer can be frightening, but timely and expert care from medical professionals can stop it before it spreads. However, if your doctors make errors, they could open themselves up to a cancer malpractice lawsuit, and an experienced medical malpractice attorney may assist patients and their families. If you believe you – or your family member – was not properly cared for, an Albany colon cancer malpractice lawyer may be able to secure damages to pay for your losses and protect your rights.

Identifying Colon Cancer

Blood in the stool, or hematuria, is the most common symptom of colon cancer. When a patient has blood in the stool, it is presumed to be caused by colorectal cancer until proven otherwise – specifically with persons who are at the age of 50 or older. This blood could be microscopic or visible to the eye. If a doctor identifies hematuria but does not go further in trying to rule out cancer, any later diagnosis could prompt a colon cancer malpractice claim, which an Albany lawyer could help bring to court.

Getting a Colonoscopy

The accepted ‘standard of care’ to help diagnose colon cancer is a colonoscopy, where a medical professional places a scope up and through the rectum into the colon. The colonoscopy is used to visualize the interior of the colon to determine whether there is a presence of a tumor or any polyps that may be growing. Polyps are sometimes a precursor to a cancerous growth. If the gastroenterologist notices a polyp during a colonoscopy, they should remove the polyp to make sure that it does not grow into a cancer.

If the doctor finds cancer, then the patient will be scheduled for a more extensive operation, where the surgeon will remove the part of the colon where the tumor is located, as well as the surrounding lymph nodes. A pathologist will test these lymph nodes to determine if they have cancerous cells in them.

If any of the gastroenterologists, the surgeon, or the pathologist break the “standard of care” and a patient develops cancer, an Albany colon cancer malpractice attorney could help gather evidence in order to prove negligence and protect the rights of the patient.

Stages of Cancer

Colon cancer is graded in Stages I, II, III, and IV, signifying the spread of cancer cells. In Stage I, the cancerous tumor has spread beyond the inner lining of the colon but remains within the colon and has not spread to the lymph nodes. Stage II, colon cancer extends through the thick outer muscle layer of the colon but has not spread to the lymph nodes. Stage III, colon cancer has spread outside the colon to one or more lymph nodes. Stage IV, colon cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs. The cancer may also be in the lymph nodes. If treated properly, there is a high rate of survival for Stages I and II.

Checking for Recurrence

Treatment after colon cancer usually requires chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation therapy. There is also a blood test called CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) that is used to check for a recurrence of colon cancer. Within three-month intervals, patients must get a CEA test to determine if there are still signs of cancer.

Patients will continue to undergo a CEA treatment with an oncologist, and, in most cases, if the patient remains cancer-free for five years they are considered cured. In this case, ‘cured’ means a patient had no detectable cancer in any imaging studies or bloodwork for five years.

Hold Negligent Doctors Accountable with an Albany Colon Cancer Malpractice Attorney

Any kind of medical negligence is serious, but cancer is an especially dangerous thing to get wrong. If you or your family member suffered any losses due to of poor medical care, call an Albany colon cancer malpractice lawyer to protect your rights.