If you’ve gotten screened for colorectal cancer, whether it was because of symptoms or regular screening, your doctor may find something called a colon polyp. While polyps are common and oftentimes don’t become cancer, they will still usually need to be removed. Below, we will discuss what colon polyps are, what causes colon polyps, and how to treat colon polyps.
What is a colon polyp?
A colon polyp is a cluster of cells that forms on the inner lining of the colon. Most colon polyps are fairly harmless, but over time some colon polyps can develop into colon cancer, which is often fatal when found in later stages. Most colorectal cancer begins as a colon polyp, so if you suspect you have a colon polyp, it’s best to discuss with your doctor.
While doctors aren’t exactly sure about colon polyp causes, they believe it’s due to normal cells dividing at an unhealthy pace. Colon polyps may occur when cells grow and divide faster and more than they should normally. Anyone can get colon polyps but there are certain criteria that may make you more prone to developing colon polyps including if you:
· Are overweight
· Are over the age of 50
· Are a smoker
· Have a family history of colorectal cancer
· Have an inflammatory bowel disease
You may not experience many symptoms as a side effect of your colon polyps, however common colon polyps symptoms include:
· Rectal bleeding (note this could be a sign of another condition such as hemorrhoids
· Change in stool color
· Change in bowel habits such as constipation or diarrhea
Many of these symptoms could be indicative of another bowel disease or ailment, so if you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to immediately see a colorectal specialist who can diagnose what you are experiencing likely with a colonoscopy.
There are two main types of polyps found in the colon and rectum. The first is hyperplastic and inflammatory polyps, which do not develop into cancer but, when they are large, can pose often additional issues and should be removed. The second type of colon polyp is adenomas or adenomatous polyps, which are considered pre-cancerous and can develop into colon cancer. Oftentimes the bigger that adenoma polyps are, the higher their risk of developing into colorectal cancer.
The most common treatment for colon polyps is to remove the polyp using surgery often during a colonoscopy or other colon imaging technique. During a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy, your doctor can remove polyps. This entire procedure is called a polypectomy. If the polyp is too large to remove in this manner, you may need surgery. Once a polyp is removed, it is sent to a lab to test it for cancer.
If you are experiencing any of the abovementioned symptoms, it’s best to see a colorectal specialist who will be able to diagnose your condition. If it is polyps, you and your doctor can then make a plan to remove it and ensure it is not cancerous. If you need colon polyp treatment in Tampa, call the specialists at Tampa Bay Colorectal today!