Colonic Polyp

What is Colonic Polyp?

A colon polyp is a clump of tissue that forms on the lining of the colon.

There are two main categories of polyps, non-neoplastic and neoplastic. Non-neoplastic polyps include hyperplastic polyps, inflammatory polyps and hamartomatous polyps. In general, the larger a polyp, the greater the risk of cancer, especially with neoplastic polyps.

SYMPTOMS

Colon polyps often cause no symptoms. You might not know you have a polyp until your doctor finds it during an examination of your bowel.

Sometimes, if the polyp is large enough or has an ulcerated surface, they can present with rectal bleeding, change in stool color, change in bowel habits or iron deficiency anaemia.

When to See a Doctor

Individuals with no personal or family history of colon cancer should get a screening by colonoscopy once every 10 years starting at age 50 years. If your endoscopist discovers that you have polyps, and removes them, then the interval for your next colonoscopy is shortened to 5 years.  

Consider your options if you belong to the high-risk category. If you have a family history of colon polyps, consider having genetic counselling. If you have been diagnosed with a hereditary disorder that causes colon polyps, you will need regular colonoscopies starting in young adulthood.

RISK FACTORS

Factors that may contribute to the formation of colon polyps or cancer include:

  • Age more than 50 or older.
  • Inflammatory intestinal conditions, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
  • Family history. You are more likely to develop colon polyps or cancer if you have a family member with them. If many family members have them, your risk is even greater.
  • Tobacco and alcohol use.
  • Obesity and lack of exercise.

Rarely do people inherit genetic mutations that cause colon polyps to form. Screening and early detection can help prevent the development or spread of these cancers. These multiple polyps syndromes include FAP, HNPCC and Peutz-Jaaegers Syndrome

TREATMENT

Colonic polyps are removed through endoscopy. You can significantly reduce your risk of colon polyps and colorectal cancer by having regular screenings.