February 25, 2010

Maryland Doctor Heads Panel to Lower Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening and Prevent Cancer Deaths

A doctor from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland is leading a national panel examining ways to increase screenings and prevent colon and rectal cancer deaths.

Though colorectal cancers are the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States (lung cancer is no. 1), barriers to getting life-saving screening tests remain. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a panel earlier this month chaired by Dr. Donald Steinwachs, a Johns Hopkins University professor and head of the Health Services Research and Development Center.

Dr. Steinwachs is quoted in an NCI press release as saying that some people find tests such as colonoscopy "...to be unpleasant and time-consuming. However, we also know that recommended screening strategies reduce colorectal cancer deaths." The panel convened earlier in February to discuss ways to eliminate the main barriers to getting screened for colon and rectal cancers -- namely health insurance obstacles, having to pay for tests out of pocket, and not having a regular health care provider.

A case of cancer misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose cancer, or late cancer diagnosis in Maryland may be proven if the physician ignores or fails to order tests for troubling symptoms presented by the patient, or attributes them to some other benign condition. The NCI reports that although colorectal screenings have increased in the U.S. population for people over age 50 -- from a rate of 20 to 30% in 1997 to nearly 55% in 2008 -- that we still have a long ways to go to save more lives. Colon and rectal cancers can be treated successfully when caught in the early stages or pre-cancer stages.

Baltimore County injury lawyers with knowledge about cancer misdiagnosis and medical malpractice cases in Maryland will advise patients on steps they need to take if they think a doctor's negligence led to a failure to treat or late treatment of their cancer.

Panel Calls for Reducing Colorectal Cancer Deaths by Striking Down Barriers to Screening
National Cancer Institute, Press Release Feb. 4, 2010

Related Web Resources

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health: Health Services Research and Development Center

Katie Couric Speaks: A Personal Tragedy Sparks a Public Campaign to Prevent Colon Cancer