Colon Polyp Evaluation and Treatment in Wichita, KS
A colon polyp is a lump of tissue that forms within the inner lining of the colon. Most colon polyps are completely harmless, but they can become cancerous, especially those that begin to grow larger over time.
Vague Or Non-Existent Symptoms
Unfortunately, it is often very difficult to determine whether or not an individual has colon polyps without conducting an endoscopic procedure to actually take a look inside of the colon. Small polyps are particularly unlikely to present any symptoms, though a few people with colon polyps have reported one or more of the following occurrences:
- Rectal bleeding that may also lead to iron deficiency anemia as a result of significant blood loss
- Mucus discharge
- Pain in the abdomen
- Changes in stool (most often in the color of your stool)
Failure to address or diagnose colon polyps during routine examinations (such as your regularly scheduled colonoscopy) can often lead to a delayed diagnosis of colon cancer, which becomes drastically more fatal in its later stages.
Types of Colon Polyps
There are two primary categories when it comes to colon polyps, which include neoplastic and non-neoplastic. It is uncommon for non-neoplastic polyp types to develop into colon cancer, and even neoplastic types are often found to be completely non-cancerous. The real worry begins if the polyp is determined to be an adenomatous or villous adenomas.
Adenomas are part of the neoplastic polyp type, and are extremely common. Approximately two thirds of all polyps found within the colon are determined to be an adenoma, meaning that this type of polyp is not definitively cancerous, but it’s risk for being so is increased.
How are Colon Polyps Diagnosed?
A majority of all colon polyps are found during a routine procedure such as a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. If one or multiple polyps are found, your doctor will extract the tissues and send them to the lab for testing to determine their composition and whether or not they have the potential to become cancerous.
Risk Factors for Colon Polyps
There are, of course, several influential factors that can affect a person’s chances of developing colon polyps as well as colon cancer. Polyps are more likely to occur as we age, and so all adults over the age of 50 should be regularly checked for the presence of these tissue formations.
Your risk also increases if you have a family history of colon cancer. Depending on your particular situation, your doctor may recommend that you begin receiving routine screenings before 50 years of age in order to help catch any abnormal mutations in the colon tissue early on.
Although it is impossible to control one’s age or family history, it is possible to limit your risk for colon cancer by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise, and to avoid drinking alcohol in excessive amounts.
Detection and Prevention
The easiest way to avoid complications from colon polyps is to receive regular examinations and tests from your doctor. Even if these findings turn out to be inconclusive, it is still possible for polyps to form in the colon at any time for anyone.
Schedule an Evaluation
To address your concerns about abnormal symptoms you’ve experienced, or to schedule a colon screening, please call (316) 293-3455 today to speak with a specialist at KU-Wichita Gastroenterology about your colon health.