July 9, 2011

While the rates of new cases of colorectal cancer and death from colorectal cancer in the United States have been decreasing, and more adults are being screened for colorectal cancer, one in three adults in the United States between 50 and 75 are still not being screened for colorectal cancer. Low income people, less educated people, and people without health insurance tend to be more likely to not be screened or screened less often than recommended. Whites report having the highest percentage of colorectal screening (66.1%) followed in descending order by Blacks (65.8%), Asians/Pacific Islanders (57%), American Indians/Alaska Natives (55.7%) , Others (54.5%), and Hispanics (53.8%). 

Compared to 2002, about 66,000 cases of colorectal cancer were prevented and about 32,000 deaths from colorectal cancer were prevented between 2003 and 2007, of which about one half were due to screening.

Between 2003 and 2007, the states with the largest annual percentage change (decrease) in death rates due to colorectal cancer were Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Louisiana, New York,  Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. During that same period, the states with the largest annual percentage change (decrease) in colorectal cancer incidence rates were Washington State, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Screening for colon and rectal cancer can find abnormal growths known as precancerous polyps that can then be removed before they become cancerous and screening can also find cancer at an earlier stage when it is easier to treat.

In general, it is recommended that screening for colorectal cancer be done by a home fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year, by a sigmoidoscopy every five years with FOBT every three years, or a colonoscopy every ten years. People who may need to be screened more often include those who are between the ages of 50 and 75, those who have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer such as people with Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), people who have certain genetic disorders, and people who have a personal history of polyps or have a close family member with either polyps or colorectal cancer. These higher risk people need to discuss with their health care providers when they should start colorectal screening (usually at an earlier age),  how often they should be screened (usually more often), and which method(s) of screening should be used.

Source: CDC

Unfortunately, colon cancer and rectal cancer are sometimes not diagnosed in a timely manner and result in the need for more extensive and intrusive medical treatment, more pain and suffering, and sometimes avoidable deaths. Not all late diagnosed or misdiagnosed colon and rectal cancers are due to medical negligence. Often it takes an extensive expert review of the medical records and other information to determine if medical malpractice occurred. Experienced medical malpractice attorneys can assist in investigating if a bad medical outcome could have been avoided if proper and timely medical care had been provided. If it is determined that a legitimate medical malpractice claim exists, medical malpractice lawyers are the legal professionals who can bring the medical malpractice claim on behalf of the innocent victim of medical malpractice.

Visit our website to be connected with local medical malpractice lawyers who may be able to assist you with your possile medical medical malpractice claim or call us toll free at 800-295-3959.

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