Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, but it may initially be diagnosed as a bad case of hemorrhoids. In some cases, a misdiagnosis occurs because an individual performs a self-diagnosis online or seeks medical advice from someone not necessarily qualified to provide it. While this may provide temporary relief, it may not address the underlying condition that is causing the symptoms.
Patients are advised to talk to their doctor if they have issues with their bowel or pain that doesn't subside in a short period of time. If a patient does have hemorrhoids, it should be easy to take care of with cream that can be administered at home, and it is usually not a serious health concern. However, one sign that what appeared to be hemorrhoids may be colon or rectal cancer is blood in the stool.
While it is also a symptom of hemorrhoids, it is important for a patient to relay that information to his or her doctor. Other symptoms that are associated with colon cancer include weight loss, pain in the abdomen and a change in bowel movements. However, the occurrence of colon or rectal cancer is low, with only one out of 20 people developing the condition in their lifetimes.
A failure to diagnose cancer can cause serious harm to an affected patient. In many cases, a delayed diagnosis will result in high medical expenses and a significant loss of income. A medical malpractice attorney might be of assistance to a person in this situation in reviewing the patient's medical records and other evidence to determine if the health care practitioner or facility failed to exhibit the requisite standard of care.