What Are Colon Polyps?

May 7th 2016

In many cases, colon polyps are easily treatable and cause minimal symptoms. In certain cases, symptoms only develop when the polyps become malignant or the cancer has spread, which is why screening tests are of the utmost importance for individuals in the 50 and over age group. Knowing your colon cancer risks and taking proactive steps to maintain your health can often prevent colon cancer from developing.

Symptoms of Colon Polyps

Colon cancer is often referred to as a "silent" disease, as colon polyps do not usually cause symptoms unless they grow larger than 1 centimeter. When symptoms do occur, they can include rectal bleeding, diarrhea and constipation. If the polyps are blocking a portion of the colon, individuals may also experience pain in the abdominal area.

Diagnosing Colon Polyps

Colon polyps are diagnosed with a variety of tests that include colonoscopies, in which a camera is inserted into the rectum and colon to view the growths; barium enemas, in which an X-ray is taken of the colon following ingestion of a barium solution; and computed tomography scans, in which images are taken with X-rays, cameras and computers.

Treatment for Colon Polyps

Treatment for benign colon polyps usually consists of surgical removal. If the polyps are cancerous, treatment may include removal, chemotherapy and radiation. Removal of benign polyps may help to lower an individual's risk of developing colon cancer in the future and can also help relieve symptoms of discomfort caused by large growths.

Conclusion

Colon polyps are tissue formations that develop in the colon lining. In many cases, colon polyps are not a cause for concern, but the growths can become cancerous in certain individuals. While colon polyps can develop in individuals of all ages, the risk increases in individuals 50 or older. Understanding the potential warning signs of colon polyps and scheduling regular cancer screenings can help to ensure prompt detection and immediate treatment for malignant growths.

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