A polyp is a tissue growth that projects out from the body’s mucous membranes. Polyps can occur in different parts of the body but are common in the colon (large intestine). Normally, polyps are benign growths; however, they can, in certain cases, develop into cancer.
Because most colorectal cancers are believed to develop from polyps, it’s important to have all polyps examined by an experienced GI doctor. The board-certified colorectal surgeons and gastroenterologists at La Peer’s Colonoscopy Center of Excellence recommend removing polyps to prevent colon cancer from developing.
Most colorectal polyps occur in people over the age of 50, and in those for whom there is a genetic history. However, polyps can occur in anyone, so it is important to have regular colonoscopies beginning at 50 years old, and earlier for individuals with higher risk factors. African Americans have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer and should begin screenings at the age of 45. People with a family history of the colon cancer should begin screening about 10 years prior to the age that their youngest relative was diagnosed with the disease.
The surgeons at the Colonoscopy Center of Excellence may also have a colonoscopy if you’re experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Unusual cramping
- Stomach pain
- Blood in the stool
- Change in your bowel habits
Remember that most polyps are benign, and you shouldn’t panic if your doctor orders a colonoscopy to check for polyps. If you have concerns about polyps, or your colorectal health in general, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable GI team today.
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If polyps or other growths are found during the colonoscopy, our board-certified gastroenterologists will perform a biopsy and remove them if necessary. Because you will be sedated during the procedure, you should experience little to no discomfort during this process.
After the procedure, the surgeons at La Peer will send your polyps to a pathologist for a tissue biopsy (examination of the tissue under a microscope to check for cancerous cells). Again, most polyps will turn out to be benign, but in the case that cancer is detected, our physicians will sit down with you to discuss the next steps.
If your colonoscopy does yield an abnormal result, our surgeons in Beverly Hills will sit down with you to go over your treatment options in a respectful and compassionate manner. Further testing may be necessary to determine the best course of treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Polyps
Q: Are all polyps cancerous?
A: No! Most polyps are benign and do not result in a diagnosis of colon cancer. However, some polyps can become cancerous over time. Therefore, the removal of pre-cancerous polyps can help protect you from developing colon cancer in the future.
Q: What if my doctors found polyps during my colonoscopy?
A: If our GI team detects any polyps during your colonoscopy, we will most likely remove them to test for pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. Again, finding polyps does not mean you have colon cancer.
Q: What if my mother, father, brother or sister had polyps in the past?
A: Polyps (and colon cancer) do tend to have a genetic predisposition. If a close relative had polyps, be sure to schedule regular colonoscopies to protect your colorectal health, starting 10 years prior to the age at which your relative’s polyps were diagnosed. Having a good understanding of your family’s medical history is crucial to preventing colon cancer and other diseases.
If you’re concerned about your colorectal health, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with the expert surgeons at the Colonoscopy Center of Excellence today by calling (888) 837-0459 or by filling out our website contact form.
Next, read about the facts and statistics for colon cancer.