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Low-income patients may be at higher risk for colon cancer

Apr 6, 2018 | Failure to Diagnose

Cancer is a word that invokes fear in people across all ethnic and economic areas, but persons in New York who fall within lower-income parameters may have a higher risk of complications and death due to colorectal cancer. While a person’s socioeconomic status may not be directly to blame for the trend, certain factors have been identified that correlate between lower incomes and higher incidences of advanced cancers of the colon.

Researchers surveyed patients identified as lower-income, more than 50 percent of whom were Hispanic, and found four similarities that may explain the prevalence of this trend. The four similarities identified were limited access to health care resources, lack of understanding regarding symptoms, beliefs or philosophies about seeking medical care, and perceptions about screenings and treatments.

The first similarity concerns the prohibitive lack of medical insurance along with the inability to communicate because of language barriers or medical illiteracy. The second was identified because several of those surveyed did not consider typical symptoms of colorectal cancer to be unusual. Those who did seek medical help often had misdiagnosed cancer, leading to the spread and worsening of the disease before appropriate diagnosis and treatment could commence.

Thirdly, researchers found that many lower-income populations do not request preventative screenings and only see a doctor when a problem has manifested. Lastly, several patients expressed fear, anxiety and embarrassment regarding colorectal cancer screenings.

Unfortunately, some cancers are not caught in time. When a failure to diagnose cancer results in the spreading of the disease along with the complications that can ensue, patients may consult an attorney who is experienced in handling medical malpractice cases. The attorney may be able to secure monetary relief for the patient through litigation or settlement with the errant health care provider.