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Many patients under 50 experience colorectal cancer misdiagnoses

A study conducted by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance suggests that younger patients in New Jersey and across the country are more likely to be misdiagnosed than older patients. Specifically, the study showed that 71 percent of patients with colorectal cancer under the age of 50 have stage 3 or stage 4 cancer. However, patients over the age of 50 are more often being treated for cancers at stage 1 or stage 2. One reason for this disparity may be that younger people are more likely to be misdiagnosed.

Colorectal cancer sometimes presents diagnosis problems for doctors and health care facilities because of its equivocal symptomatology. Symptoms of colorectal cancer might include fatigue, constipation or weight loss. In younger patients, health care professionals are more likely to associate these symptoms with conditions like inflammatory bowel syndrome or hemorrhoids. Sixty-three percent of the 1,195 study respondents said they had to wait between three and 12 months before a colorectal cancer screening was ordered.

It was also common among study respondents to report seeing between two and four doctors before they received an accurate colorectal cancer diagnosis. An at-home cancer screening test showed good results for people with this type of cancer, identifying from 75 to 80 percent of the cancer among all individuals tested. According to the director of the CCA, concerned patients should get tested if they don't feel right.

A New Jersey resident who suffers harm as a result of a misdiagnosis should consider meeting with an attorney. Legal counsel with experience in medical malpractice cases could help by identifying the liable parties. The attorney might depose witnesses and organize evidence in order to negotiate for a better settlement.

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