There has been much recent attention given to the importance of having a colonoscopy, which is the diagnostic procedure used to detect colon cancer. While it is now recommended that people over age 40 get a colonoscopy every 5 years (and more often over age 50), health care professionals should be looking for warning signs that indicate increased risk to their patients. For example, patients with a drop in blood counts or an iron deficiency may be experiencing internal bleeding — and further tests should be given to determine if there is blood in the stool. If so, this could indicate cancer in the gastrointestinal tract, and a colonoscopy should be performed as soon as possible.
Cases of medical malpractice regarding colon cancer most often center on health care professionals who fail to properly investigate a patient’s complaints of rectal bleeding, and who do not initiate further testing or a colonoscopy for those at risk. In addition, some cases involve health care professionals who misread colonoscopy results. Health care professionals should be taking every precaution to initiate medical testing and accurately diagnose this type of cancer in the very early stages; failure to do so may be considered medical malpractice.