Colorectal cancer rise in young adults linked to misdiagnosis

| Jun 23, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

Colorectal cancer is becoming more serious for younger adults in Illinois and across the country, and misdiagnoses by doctors may be linked to the striking increase. As cancer is a progressive disease, an early diagnosis can make a significant difference in outcomes and treatment. Colorectal cancer is one of its most frequently life-threatening forms, especially when it is discovered at a late stage.

Multiple misdiagnoses before cancer identified

According to one survey of colorectal cancer patients, nearly two-thirds waited for up to a year to see a doctor after they initially began to develop symptoms. Once they did visit a doctor, they often needed to see multiple specialists before their cancer was correctly identified. Instead, they received a range of mistaken diagnoses. The majority of these cancer patients, all under 50 years old, reported that their cancer was diagnosed only after it became more advanced and difficult to treat.

Colorectal cancer overlooked for young patients

A full 71% of the patients were initially diagnosed with stage three or four cancer, and even the patients who went to only one doctor for their cancer diagnosis found they were frequently misdiagnosed at their initial visits. This marks a sharp distinction with older adults, who are typically diagnosed with the cancer at an earlier stage of development. This could be related to doctors’ expectations that colorectal cancer is a disease of the elderly. However, 10% of all colorectal cancer patients are younger than 50.

A misdiagnosis poses a serious medical risk to people of any age. A missed cancer diagnosis can mean substantial progress of the disease, with much higher rates of complications, difficult treatment protocols and a lower chance of survival. If you were misdiagnosed, leading to a worsened health condition, a medical malpractice attorney may provide advice about how you can protect your rights.