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Standards of Care: Colorectal Cancer


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3/16/2011
Jeffrey H. Dover
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Standard of care is a system of measurement for ensuring that physicians consistently provide care to patients that a reasonable and competent physician should exercise in the care of a patient. Average citizens entrust their lives to medical professionals in many situations, so having a standard of care in place for doctors to adhere to is a must. Unfortunately, negligence and medical malpractice can still occur despite the widespread utilization of these standards.

Different conditions of the body often have their own set of standards for physicians to abide by. Even within those conditions, sub-classifications may also have their own standards of care. For instance, under broad category of cancer there are individual standards of care for cancers of the colon and rectum. Colorectal cancers were third in all cancer incidences for men and women in 2010, with nearly 142,000 new incidences, and there were over 51,000 deaths that year from colorectal cancers as well.

According to the American College of Surgeons, some of the basic standards of care for colorectal cancer include:

  • Anyone under the age of 80 diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer should be offered chemotherapy treatment within four months of the diagnosis.
  • At least 12 regional lymph nodes should be extracted during a resection procedure for colorectal cancer. Those nodes should then be taken for microscopic examination for the presence of cancerous cells.
  • Anyone under the age of 80 with stage 3 colorectal cancer who undergoes resection surgery should be offered radiation therapy within 6 months of diagnosis.
Standards of care help physicians to know when to offer what diagnostic tests and treatment options for cancer. Without a standard, physicians could recommend various tests or treatment at various ages, and not suffer any consequences should they not make any recommendations at all.


Category: Failure to Diagnose Cancer


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