Colon Cancer

Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that develops in the colon (large intestine) or rectum. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. While the exact causes remain under investigation, understanding the risk factors, symptoms, and available treatment options empowers individuals to take a proactive approach to their health. Accordingly, early detection is crucial to successful treatment. If you have been the victim of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of colon cancer, then you may have a medical malpractice claim. Contact the Maryland colon cancer lawyer at the Kopec Law Firm.

Causes and Risk Factors:

While the specific cause of colon cancer is unknown, several factors can increase your risk:

  • Age: The risk of colon cancer increases significantly after the age of 50.
  • Family history: Having a close relative with colon cancer increases your risk.
  • Lifestyle factors: Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, and a diet low in fiber and high in red meat and processed foods are contributing factors.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Chronic conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease increase the risk.
  • Genetic syndromes: Certain inherited genetic conditions, like Lynch syndrome, significantly elevate the risk of colon cancer.

Symptoms:

It is crucial to be aware of potential symptoms of colon cancer that may develop:

  • Blood in the stool: This can be bright red or dark and tarry.
  • Changes in bowel habits: Persistent diarrhea, constipation, or a narrowing of stool are potential signs.
  • Rectal bleeding: This can occur independently of bowel movements.
  • Abdominal pain or cramping: This can be persistent or come and go.
  • Unexplained weight loss: This can be a sign of advanced cancer.
  • Fatigue: This can be a general feeling of tiredness or lack of energy.

If you experience any of these symptoms, then it’s very important to consult a doctor promptly for proper diagnosis and evaluation.

Diagnosis:

Early detection of colon cancer is crucial for successful treatment. Several tests can be used for diagnosis:

  • Colonoscopy: This procedure involves inserting a long, flexible tube with a camera into the colon to examine the lining for abnormal growths.
  • Sigmoidoscopy: Similar to a colonoscopy, but it examines only the lower part of the colon and rectum.
  • Stool tests: These tests can detect hidden blood in the stool, which may be an indicator of colon cancer.
  • Imaging tests: X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs may be used to further evaluate the extent of the cancer if it’s diagnosed.

Types of Doctors Involved:

Several types of doctors may be involved in the diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer:

  • Gastroenterologists: These physicians specialize in the digestive system and specifically perform colonoscopies and sigmoidoscopies.
  • Oncologists: These doctors specialize in cancer treatment and may recommend surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these.
  • Surgeons: They perform surgical procedures to remove cancerous tissue and, in some cases, parts of the colon or rectum.
  • Pathologists: These doctors examine tissue samples to diagnose and confirm the type and stage of cancer.
The colon and stages of colon cancer. Maryland colon cancer lawyer.
Colon Cancer

Stages of Colon Cancer: Time to Call the Maryland Colon Cancer Lawyer

Once diagnosed, colon cancer is staged based on the extent of its spread:

  • Stage 0: Cancer is confined to the innermost lining of the colon.
  • Stage I: Cancer has spread through the inner wall of the colon but not to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage II: Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage III: Cancer has spread to more lymph nodes or other tissues in the abdomen.
  • Stage IV: Cancer has spread to distant organs, such as the liver or lungs.

The stage of the cancer is significant in determining the most appropriate treatment approach and prognosis.

Treatment Options:

The treatment of colon cancer depends on the stage and other factors like a patient’s overall health. Common treatment options include:

  • Surgery: This is the primary treatment for most stages of colon cancer. The surgeon removes the cancerous tissue and surrounding healthy tissue to ensure complete removal.
  • Chemotherapy: This uses drugs to kill cancer cells and may be used before or after surgery, depending on the stage.
  • Radiation therapy: This uses high energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells, often used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.
  • Immunotherapy: This helps the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells and may be an option for specific types of colon cancer.

Prognosis: Call the Maryland Colon Cancer Lawyer

The prognosis for colon cancer depends on various factors, including the stage of the cancer, the patient’s age and overall health, and their response to treatment. Early detection significantly improves the chances of successful treatment and survival.

If you have been the victim of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of colon cancer, then contact the Maryland colon cancer lawyer at the Kopec Law Firm. You will speak directly with attorney Mark Kopec. He is a top-rated Maryland medical malpractice lawyer. Call 800-604-0704 for your free consultation. The Kopec Law Firm is The 100% medical malpractice law firm in Maryland.

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