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When doctors fail to recommend cancer screening

We’ve been talking about cancer screening in our last couple posts—the risks, the benefits, and the potential for doctors to make the mistake of failing to recommend cancer screening. The latter issue is an important one, of course, because doctors have a huge responsibility in ensuring that their patients receive a timely diagnosis and proper treatment.

Interestingly, a recent study out of California demonstrates that certain populations may be more at risk when it comes to certain types of cancer, not because of genetic propensities, but because of the health care they have available. According to the study, racial minorities are more likely to go without colon cancer screening than Caucasians because their providers are more likely not to recommend that they receive screening. This, of course, means that racial minorities could be more at risk of developing colon cancer. 

Just to take one statistic: back in 2008, 56 percent of Caucasians received colon cancer screening, while only 37 percent of Latinos, 48 percent of Asian Americans, and 49 percent of African Americans over the age of 50 were screened. The reasons for the gap are not easy to nail down, but it is important for all patients to realize that their doctor has a responsibility to abide by established standards of care in their treatment. This includes making recommendations to receive cancer screening and interpreting the results of these tests.

Those who have been provided substandard care and suffered health problems as a result may be able to obtain damages, depending on the circumstances of the case. The important thing for those facing such a situation is to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney to have the case evaluated and to come up with an appropriate plan of action.

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