Polyps are growths of abnormal tissue that latch onto the linings of the organs. They are mostly associated with cells that make and release mucus and other liquids. Polyps may differ in size and shape. They can look like little flat bumps, small mushroom-like stalks, or like a grape. Colon polyps are the most common type of polyps, but it can develop in various parts of the body like:
- Ear canal
Colon polyps are common intestinal growths of excess tissue that grows on stem or stalk in the inner wall of the colon. Some colon polyps do not contain cancer cells, but others can be cancerous over time.
Causes and Contributing factors
There are multiple factors which could increase the risk of colon polyps:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family history
Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), is a rare inherited disorder where hundreds of polyps grow in the colon and rectum. These polyps, if left untreated, can cause colon cancer.
These risks can be lowered by:
- Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Lessen the red meat and processed meat
- Watch your weight
- Limiting alcohol intake
- Avoiding smoking
Signs and Symptoms
There are colon polyps that are asymptomatic. It cannot be detected that you have polyps, unless, your doctor finds it while doing bowel examination. But to some, they may experience symptoms such as:
- Rectal bleeding
- Change in stool color
- Diarrhea that lasts longer than a week
- Crampy abdominal pain
- Iron deficiency anemia
Diagnosis and Tests
There are colon polyps that are non-cancerous, but some polyps can progress to cancer over time. It can be determined by performing a biopsy. The polyp is examined to check if it is the type which can become cancer.
The Barium enema is a form of x-ray procedure that is used to diagnose polyp. The entire colon can also be thoroughly examined by colonoscopy. Artificial intelligence has contributed so much to the improvement and advancement of the technology. EndoBrain, a computer-aided endocytoscopy, significantly increase the accuracy and sensitivity of polyp detection. Detection of small polyps raised up to more than 90%, and this technology can capture images during real-time endoscopy.
Treatment and Prevention
Studies show that increasing your calcium intake can help prevent recurrence of colon polyps that often lead to colon cancer.
Polyps can sometimes be cancerous. There is a process called polypectomy where n polyps once seen inside the lining of the colon can be removed, making it less likely to be malignant.
It is of importance to pay attention to signs and symptoms. For ages 50 and above, be sure to be screened regularly. If you think you have risk factors, such as family history of colon cancer, consider undergoing genetic counseling and to do regular screening colonoscopy starting in young adulthood. Once you feel or have doubts, it is always best to see a doctor. Early detection is better than cure. Treatment increases the possibility of good prognosis.