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Colon cancer

Misdiagnosed Colon Cancer: Know the Risks and Your Rights

Colon cancer misdiagnosis: A silent threat. Know the signs & fight for your health!

Colon cancer, also known as bowel or colorectal cancer, is a serious health threat. It’s one of the most common types of cancer in the UK, and tragically, it’s sometimes misdiagnosed. A misdiagnosis can have severe consequences, delaying treatment and potentially reducing chances of survival.

Let’s delve into this vital topic, understanding the risks, causes, consequences, and what you can do if you suspect a misdiagnosis. We will also highlight how you can start a medical negligence claim.

Why Does Colon Cancer Misdiagnosis Happen?

It’s easy to assume that a cancer diagnosis is clear-cut, but colon cancer can be tricky. Here’s why misdiagnoses happen:

  • Similar Symptoms: Colon cancer shares symptoms with less serious conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hemorrhoids, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This overlap can lead doctors to misinterpret the signs.
  • Age Factor: Colon cancer risk increases with age. Younger patients might be misdiagnosed more often because doctors don’t initially suspect cancer.
  • Incomplete Testing: Thorough screening is crucial for catching colon cancer. If doctors don’t order the right tests, or misinterpret results, the cancer could be missed.
  • Human Error: Even the best doctors make mistakes. Fatigue, heavy workload, or simply overlooking a detail can lead to a missed or wrong diagnosis.

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What Are the Signs to Watch Out For?

While misdiagnosis is a concern, it shouldn’t lead to unnecessary anxiety. Instead, it’s important to be aware of the red flags that might signal colon cancer. These include persistent changes in your bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or a feeling of incomplete emptying after using the toilet. Blood in your stool, whether bright red, dark red, or even black, shouldn’t be ignored and isn’t always a sign of just hemorrhoids.

Persistent abdominal pain, including cramps, gas, or a general feeling of discomfort in your tummy, is another reason to see a doctor. Unexplained weight loss and constant tiredness, even when you’re getting enough sleep, can also be warning signs. Remember, experiencing any of these symptoms doesn’t automatically mean colon cancer, but it’s crucial to get checked out to rule it out or address any underlying issues.

What Is Colon Cancer Often Misdiagnosed As?

The most common culprits behind colon cancer misdiagnosis are:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): IBS has similar symptoms like cramps and bowel changes. While IBS is not life-threatening, mistaking it for cancer can be disastrous.
  • Hemorrhoids: These swollen rectal veins cause bleeding and discomfort, making it easy to mistake them for something more serious.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis present with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and sometimes bleeding, mimicking colon cancer.
  • Diverticulitis: Small pouches in your colon can become inflamed or infected, causing pain and bowel irregularity.

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What are the Consequences of a Misdiagnosis?

The severity of a colon cancer misdiagnosis depends on how long treatment is delayed. Here’s what can happen:

  • Cancer Progression: The earlier colon cancer is caught, the better the chances of a full recovery. A misdiagnosis allows the cancer to grow and potentially spread, decreasing survival odds.
  • More Extensive Treatment: A delayed diagnosis might mean needing more aggressive treatment like chemotherapy or complex surgery, with additional risks and side effects.
  • Psychological Distress: Being misdiagnosed can cause immense stress and anxiety. You might even lose trust in the medical system.

How Can I Get a Second Opinion?

If you feel something isn’t right with your initial diagnosis, don’t hesitate to advocate for yourself. Here’s how to seek further advice: You can request another doctor’s opinion, particularly a gastroenterologist specialising in digestive diseases, or an oncologist, a cancer specialist. If your doctor dismisses your concerns, politely but firmly express your desire for additional testing like a colonoscopy or CT scan to provide a clearer picture.

In the meantime, gather your medical records, including previous test results, diagnoses, and notes from doctor’s appointments. Having all this information in one place will be helpful for any new doctors you consult. Remember, you have the right to feel heard and understood. Don’t leave your appointment until you feel confident that all your concerns have been addressed.

Making a Medical Negligence Claim with National Claims

At National Claims, we understand that medical negligence can have devastating consequences. When you trust a healthcare professional with your health, you expect the highest standard of care, and a misdiagnosis or substandard treatment can be a major breach of that trust. If you’ve suffered due to suspected medical negligence, our team is here to help you navigate the claims process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Free Consultation

Let’s start with a free consultation to discuss the details of your experience. We’ll listen carefully to understand your concerns and assess whether you have grounds for a strong claim. Our goal is to provide initial advice, explain the process, and help you feel informed as you consider a potential medical negligence case.

No Win, No Fee

National Claims believes that access to justice shouldn’t be limited by financial concerns. That’s why we operate on a “No Win, No Fee” basis*. This means you won’t face upfront legal fees, allowing you to pursue your case without additional financial strain.

*Customers pay up to 25% (incl. VAT) of the amount recovered towards solicitor costs and if you cancel outside your cooling off period, you may be charged a fee.


Colon cancer misdiagnosis is a serious issue, but it doesn’t mean you’re powerless. Be aware of the symptoms, be your own health advocate, and don’t hesitate to speak up if you’re worried. Trust your instincts—if something feels off, get a second opinion or further testing. Early detection is truly key when it comes to colon cancer survival.

Contact us today to speak to one of our claims agents who will be able to help you get started on your claim.

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