Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.

Misdiagnosis of Colorectal cancer

Misdiagnosis of Colorectal cancer

A diagnosis of colorectal cancer can be missed because the symptoms of the disease can be similar to other diseases, such as hemorrhoids. In addition, there are often no symptoms in the earliest, most curable stage of colorectal cancer, which can delay diagnosis. Because of these factors, it is important to have regular medical care throughout a lifetime in order to maximize the chances of an early diagnosis....more about Colorectal cancer »

Colorectal cancer misdiagnosis: Because it has no early symptoms, many cases of colon cancer are not diagnosed early. The embarrassing nature of some symptoms also leads some patients to delay seeking treatment. Even after seeking medical advice, colon cancer is still under-diagnosed. Colon cancer ranks 5th in malpractice lawsuits, with the typical claim over failure to diagnose early enough. Many suits argue a failure by the doctor to identify a symptom as indicative of colon cancer and failure to follow up abnormal test results. Another problem causing delayed diagnosis is that some patients avoid the typical diagnostic tests such as colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or lower gastrointestinal series because of perceived embarrassment....more about Colorectal cancer »

Alternative diagnoses list for Colorectal cancer:

For a diagnosis of Colorectal cancer, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Colorectal cancer:

Diseases for which Colorectal cancer may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Colorectal cancer is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Colorectal cancer: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Colorectal cancer may include these medical conditions:

Rare Types of Colorectal cancer:

Colorectal cancer: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Colorectal cancer: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Common Misdiagnoses and Colorectal cancer

Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed. The best known, irritable bowel syndrome, is over-diagnosed, whereas other causes that are less known may be overlooked or misdiagnosed: celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis (both are called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)), diabetic gastroparesis, diabetic diarrhea. Other possibilities include giardia, colon cancer, or other chronic infections.

Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance. The digestive system contains a variety of "good" bacteria that aid digestion, and they can decline for various reasons, leading to digestive symptoms such as diarrhea. The main treatment is to eat foods containing probiotics, typically yoghurt cultures. See intestinal imbalance and probiotics.

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but can also kill the "good" bacteria in the gut. This leads to "digestive imbalance" where there are too few remaining "good" bacteria in the digestive system. The treatment is typically to use "probiotics", such as by eating yoghurt cultures containing more of the good bacteria. See digestive imbalance and probiotics.

Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning). In fact, it's more likely to be an infectious diarrheal illness (i.e. infectious diarrhea), that has been caught from another person. Such conditions may be transmitted via the fecal-oral route.

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also fail to be diagnosed with fatal effect). One of the most common misdiagnosed is for children with mesenteric adenitis to be misdiagnosed as appendicitis. Fortunately, thus misdiagnosis is usually less serious than the reverse failure to diagnose appendicitis.

Spitz nevi misdiagnosed as dangerous melanoma skin cancer: One possible misdiagnosis to consider in lieu of melanoma is spitz nevi. See melanoma and spitz nevi.

Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption disorder with a variety of symptoms (see symptoms of celiac disease). A variety of other chronic digestive disorders tend to be diagnosed rather than this condition. See introduction to celiac disease or misdiagnosis of celiac disease.

Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some of the better known possibilities are peptic ulcer, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, or GERD. Other sometimes overlooked possibilities include Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, chronic appendicitis, Celiac disease, Carcinoid syndrome, gastroparesis, and others. See all types of chronic digestive diseases.

Colorectal cancer: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Failure To Diagnose Colorectal cancer

Failure to diagnose Colorectal cancer may be associated with the following:

  • The early stages of colon cancer are usually asymptomatic and it is therefore often not diagnosed until it becomes malignant. A regular colonoscopy is recommended in older population to allow early detection of colon cancer. Patients who have significant risk factors for developing colon cancer should be screened regularly from adolescence
  • Early diagnosis of colon cancer results in an excellent prognosis but due to the fact that symptoms don't occur until later stages and are then often ignored, many cases are diagnosed and survival rates are poorer
  • Colon cancer is often undiagnosed as symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and rectal bleeding are usually dismissed as the result of other causes
  • Older patients tend to dismiss bowel symptoms as they believe they are the result of constipation, poor diet or hemorrhoids

Notes On Hidden Causes Of Colorectal cancer

The following may be hidden causes of Colorectal cancer:

  • The risk factors associated with developing colon cancer are: adenomatous polyps, first-degree relative with colon cancer, hereditary non-polyposis coli, familial polyposis coli and ulcerative colitis or Crohn's colitis for more than ten years
  • Certain conditions involve colon polyps which may transform into cancer - these include familial polyposis coli, Gardner's syndrome and Turcot's syndrome.
  • A diet high in animal fat and refined carbohydrates and low in fruit, vegetables, calcium and vitamin D and smoking increases the risk of developing colon cancer
  • Some studies suggest that exposure to asbestos can increase the risk of colon cancer

Complications Of Misdiagnosis Of Colorectal cancer

The following may be complications of misdiagnosis of Colorectal cancer:

  • The altered bowel habits caused by colon cancer may be put down to a changed diet or a gastrointestinal infection
  • Intestinal obstruction due to colon cancer may be misdiagnosed as constipation, faecal impaction, adhesions, hernia, volvulus, intussusception, Crohn's disease, small intestine tumour and pseudo-obstruction
  • An intestinal mass due to colon cancer may be misdiagnosed as constipation, appendix abscess, diverticular inflammatory mass, Crohn's disease, ovarian cyst, torsion, uterine fibroid or tumour (stomach, pancreas, kidney, lymphoma etc)
  • Abdominal pain due to colon cancer may be misdiagnosed as a gastrointestinal infection, peritonitis, gastrointestinal inflammation, hernia, adhesions, faecal impaction, gallstones, kidney stones, irritable bowel syndrome, hepatitis, Budd-Chiari syndrome, ectopic pregnancy, perforated intestines, ruptured ovarian cyst, appendicitis, pancreatitis, cholecystitis, salpingitis, urinary tract infection, peptic ulcer, inflammatory bowel disease, arteritis, atheroma, testicle torsion and liver tumour
  • Diarrhea due to colon cancer may be misdiagnosed as food poisoning, gastroenteritis, giardiasis, traveller's diarrhea, parasitic infection, fungal infection, opportunistic infection, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetic autonomic neuropathy, thyrotoxicosis, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease and laxative abuse
  • Constipation due to colon cancer may be misdiagnosed as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, anal abscess, anal fistula, irritable bowel syndrome, pseudo-obstruction, diverticulosis, Hirschsprung's disease, autonomic neuropathy, anorectal dysfunction, low fibre diet, fasting, depression, anorexia nervosa, inactivity and lack of fluids
  • Rectal bleeding due to colon cancer may be misdiagnosed as inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal infection, hemorrhoids, rectal ulcer, diverticulosis and vascular malformations

Other Notes On Misdiagnosis Of Colorectal cancer

  • Screening recommendations for women with a normal risk for developing colorectal cancer: from the age of 50 - total colon exam (barium enema or colonoscopy) every 5-10 years or a fecal occult blood screen every year and a flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years.

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Colorectal cancer:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Colorectal cancer:

Misdiagnosis and Colorectal cancer deaths

Colorectal cancer is a condition that can possibly be deadly if misdiagnosed...more »

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Colorectal cancer or confirming a diagnosis of Colorectal cancer, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Colorectal cancer may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Colorectal cancer. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.


By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise