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Tests For Diagnosing Colon Cancer in Pittsburgh, PA

Medical malpractice claims can be very difficult to manage for you and your family. That becomes even more true when a serious illness like colon cancer gets misdiagnosed or is not properly treated by doctors or hospitals. Cancer misdiagnoses can allow the cancer to develop even further and it may not even become treatable anymore. Colon cancer is common among males, and any delay in treatment can be very difficult to treat. If you or a loved one has been affected by a cancer misdiagnosis or a failure to properly treat colon cancer, you need help. The Pittsburgh colon cancer misdiagnosis attorneys at Berger & Lagnese want to represent you and your family for your medical malpractice claim. Contact our offices today to set up a free consultation with our team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys and begin your road to recovery.

Pittsburgh Colon Cancer Misdiagnosis or Failure to Properly Treat Attorneys

There are several tests available to check your colon for signs of colon cancer. The purpose of this article is to tell you what these diagnostic tests are and to give you a sense of some of the pros and cons associated with each test.

1. Colonoscopy: This is the test that people are most familiar with. Colonoscopy is still considered the "gold standard" for colon cancer screening. It involves the insertion of a colonoscope into the anus, rectum, and colon. A colonoscope is a long, thin tube with a viewing mechanism through which the doctor is able to view the walls of your rectum and colon. As far as the pros and cons of colonoscopy are concerned, on the plus side, colonoscopy is the best of all tests for detecting and removing small polyps, the precancerous growths that can develop on the walls of the rectum and colon. On the negative side, colonoscopy requires thorough bowel prep (i.e., removal of all stool) before the test, and sedation during the test. Because of the sedation, most people will need to miss work on the day of their colonoscopy. Also, because colonoscopy often involves cutting polyps from the bowel wall, it carries the risk of bleeding and bowel perforation. A bowel perforation can lead to serious and even fatal illness if not detected and treated immediately. Another difficulty associated with colonoscopy is that the colonoscope cannot always be extended the entire length of the colon.

2. Sigmoidoscopy: This test involves the insertion of a viewing device called a sigmoidoscope. A sigmoidoscope is like a colonoscope except it is shorter in length and can only reach the level of the rectum and lower colon. A sigmoidoscopy leaves the upper colon totally unexamined. For this reason, sigmoidoscopy is considered inferior to full colonoscopy as a means of detecting colon cancer.

3. Barium Enema: Barium enema is an older test. It involves prior bowel prep, just like colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy. Once the bowel is prepped, it is inflated and a barium-containing liquid is inserted through the anus and into the rectum and colon. While this liquid travels up through the rectum and colon, x-rays are taken of the patient's abdomen. The radioactive barium liquid in the rectum and colon appears white in color on the x-rays, thus providing an outline of the rectum and colon walls. The major disadvantage of barium enema is that it often does not show smaller polyps which can contain or lead to colon cancer. Barium enema is considered inferior to colonoscopy as a screening test for colon cancer.

4. Virtual Colonoscopy: This is the new wave for colon cancer screening. It involves the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) to take a sophisticated three-dimensional picture of the colon and rectum. There is no insertion of long tubing into the bowel, and with the use of a special technique called "fecal tagging", some forms of virtual colonoscopy do not require uncomfortable bowel prepping. Recent studies of virtual colonoscopy indicate that it is about as good as colonoscopy at detecting polyps larger than .5 cm, but not good at detecting precancerous growths smaller than .5 cm. The biggest advantage that traditional colonoscopy retains over virtual colonoscopy is that polyps can be removed or biopsied during colonoscopy while they can only be identified during virtual colonoscopy.

Contact Our Pittsburgh Lawyers at Berger & Lagnese For a Free Evaluation of your Medical Malpractice and Colon Cancer Claim

If you feel that your colon cancer or that of someone you love was not diagnosed and treated as soon as it should have been at a local Pittsburgh hospital like UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, Allegheny General Hospital or Forbes Hospital, contact the Pittsburgh colon cancer attorneys at Berger & Lagnese for a free evaluation of your situation. Our office is located at 310 Grant St #720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 and consultations can be scheduled either online here or over the phone at (412) 275-4122.

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