Colorectal cancer (colon cancer) is a condition not relegated to just the elderly. That’s why Ohio residents who suspect they have it should not wait for a screening. Unfortunately, it seems that younger patients with colon cancer are more commonly misdiagnosed. This was the conclusion of a study by Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

The study involved 1,195 colon cancer patients, 63 percent of whom said that they had to wait between three and 12 months to be screened for the cancer. Of these, many had to visit two to four physicians before being accurately diagnosed. Among those patients under 50, 71 percent were found with stage 3 or 4 colorectal cancer. Patients over 50 were more likely to have stage 1 or 2.

Researchers suspect that the reason younger patients have the more advanced form of cancer is that they are being misdiagnosed and treated for the wrong conditions. Many doctors diagnose colorectal cancer as hemorrhoids or irritable bowel syndrome because of shared symptoms (fatigue, weight loss constipation, etc).

Thankfully, there is an at-home screening test that can be a good alternative to a colonoscopy. Called the fecal immunochemical test, it checks for any blood in one’s stool. This could signal the development of colon polyps. In a recent experiment, the FIT identified 75 to 80 percent of colorectal cancer cases.

When cancer is misdiagnosed, patients lose valuable time that could be used to fight the condition in its early stages. Victims of misdiagnoses may therefore be justified in seeking financial compensation for errors. Filing a medical malpractice claim is a difficult process, however, so a victim may want a lawyer on their case. In Ohio, malpractice claims must be filed within one year of the doctor-patient relationship ending or the error/injury being discovered, whichever comes first.