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Medical Malpractice Lawyer -- Hospitals Failing to Adequately Assess Colon Cancer Spread

A recent study of nearly 1,300 hospitals nationwide found that nearly two-thirds of these hospitals are not adequately screening their colon cancer patients for signs that their cancer has spread to other parts of their body.  The study was conducted by researchers at Northwestern University and is being published in the September 2008 edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  National guidelines say that when colon cancer is surgically removed, the hospital's pathology department should check at least 12 lymph nodes for signs of cancer spread.  Checking fewer than 12 nodes is not considered enough to make sure the cancer is totally confined to the colon.  According to the new study, only 38% of all the hospitals evaluated consistently complied with the 12-node-check national guideline.

The spread of cancer from its site of origin to other parts of the body is called metastatis.  In most cases, the first place in the body that colon or other cancer invades is the adjacent lyphatic system.  Because cancer treatment is specifically designed according to the degree of cancer spread at the time of diagnosis, it is critical for doctors to know the full extent of cancer spread at the time of diagnosis.  This is why the 12-node-check is essential to making sure that colon cancer patients are getting the cancer treatment they need to beat the disease.  

If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer and are currently considering which surgeon and hospital to go to for your surgery, find out about their 12-node-check track record.  And after your surgery, make sure you get your pathology report to confirm that 12 separate nodes were checked by the hospital's pathologist.

If your colon cancer was missed or misdiagnosed or improperly treated, call us at 412-471-4300 , or email us.  At Berger & Lagnese, our attorneys specialize in medical malpractice, and work on cases in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Uniontown, Beaver, Erie,  and Washington PA.  We will get you the honest answers to your questions.