ticking, overdue alarm clock and red stethoscope - side by side

How Ageism Delays Cancer Diagnoses

As a firm that handles medical malpractice cases, we continue to monitor insights into patient care. Unfortunately, Ginsburg & Associates has seen many cases where medical providers fail to diagnose or detect cancer in a timely or competent manner.

Most often, clients tell us the same or similar stories. Physicians or institutions, regardless of the signs, frequently dismiss patient concerns or suggest less invasive diagnostic tests that fail to detect cancer. When it comes to failure to diagnose colon cancer, in particular, many physicians fail to perform lifesaving colonoscopies.

Instead, doctors ignore complaints such as stomach pain, rectal bleeding, constipation, polyps, and hemorrhoids, claiming that colonoscopies are not necessary for younger patients. Doctors suggest laxatives or other over the counter “cures” rather than further testing, thus putting their patients’ lives at risk.

A Change in the Standard of Care

Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended lowering the age for colorectal cancer screenings from 50 to 45 years old. This change should help doctors detect the disease in patients in their 40s and younger – a population that has seen a steady rise in colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. for both men and women. When caught early, the disease can be addressed with a host of potential treatments. As colorectal cancer progresses, however, it becomes less and less treatable.

A Case Study

Our firm recently had the honor of representing the estate of a young nurse whose symptoms were dismissed because of her age. By the time her doctor finally sent her to a physician who could perform the proper testing, her cancer had spread, which eventually led to her untimely death. Fortunately, we were able to help the decedent’s estate and family recover from this tragic and preventable loss.

Should you or your family have a case in which cancer was not promptly or competently diagnosed, please call our firm, Ginsburg & Associates, at (215) 564-4400 or send us a message online.