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The National Bowel Cancer Audit (NBOCA) has revealed an increasing number of young people aged under 50 are being diagnosed with bowel cancer. This highlights the importance of ensuring GPs and medical professionals are aware of the prevalence of the condition in those who were historically seen as lower risk. A failure to consider the condition despite the presence of related symptoms may result in bowel cancer misdiagnosis claims.
Historically, bowel cancer has been associated with those over 50. However, the report completed by the NBOCA shows that the number of people aged under 50 with bowel cancer has increased to 5.8%. Additionally, the report shows that there is an increase in those being diagnosed at the advanced stages – where the disease has spread to other parts of the body. In advanced cases, a more intensive course of treatment is likely as well as increased number of hospital stays. This therefore makes it vital for a rapid diagnosis when a patient presents with the symptoms of bowel cancer, regardless of their age. Medical professionals may find themselves at risk of a cancer misdiagnosis claim if they fail to refer for appropriate tests, despite known symptoms or where the diagnosis is unreasonably delayed.
It is believed that changing lifestyles including rising obesity levels, lack of exercise and an increase in alcohol consumption are contributing factors towards the increasing levels of bowel cancer amongst those under 50. However, the report also shows that bowel cancer diagnosis amongst younger patients is also likely from those with no or little underlying health conditions. As a result, the report calls for an increase in public awareness of the disease so that they may seek professional advice at an earlier stage. It is hoped that this will mean fewer patients will be diagnosed at a later stage where emergency treatment is required and will help to increase the survival rate overall. It is also therefore important for medical professionals to remember the condition when a younger individual presents with symptoms associated with bowel cancer, otherwise bowel cancer compensation may be sought.
Those suffering from bowel cancer tend to present with a number of symptoms, often many of which are associated with other less severe conditions. However, it is important that medical advice is sought at the onset of any symptoms such as a pain or lump in the tummy, unexplained weight loss or a change in bowel habits. This is also particularly important for those under 50, as they are not currently eligible for the bowel screening programme offered by the NHS across the UK.
If you have suffered from a delayed diagnosis of bowel cancer and believe negligence was a contributing factor, then the advice of a specialist solicitor is imperative. Blackwater Law have extensive experience in representing patients who have suffered the consequences of a delayed cancer diagnosis. Call one of our experts today to see if you can claim compensation.