UNDERSTANDING POLYPS & THEIR TREATMENT
BEING AGE 50 & OLDER
- High-fat, low fiber
- Colon polyps or colon cancer
- Rare polyp or cancer syndromes (can also increase the risk of polyps occurring at younger ages)
- Polyps or colon cancer (risk of developing new polyps)
MOST POLYPS CAUSE NO SYMPTOMS
However, larger ones can cause blood in stools
2 COMMON TYPES
ADENOMA POLYP /
Most adenomas never become cancers but larger adenomatous polyps are more likely to become cancers while some large adenomas (bigger than 1 inch) can already contain small areas of cancer
Polyps can appear as:
TEST & DIAGNOSIS
The most accurate way to detect polyps. Recommended as a screening method by many experts.
Other screening techniques include:
- Stool Specimen | Testing for traces of blood
- Sigmoidoscopy | Performed to look into the lower third of the colon
- Radiology Test | Using a barium enema or CT colongraphy
- Cologuard® | DNA Test
If one of these tests finds or suspects polyps, your doctor will likely recommend colonoscopy to remove them for histology examination.
Viewing of tissue under a microscope. The best way to differentiate between hyperplastic and adenomatous polyps.
A routine outpatient procedure. Most polyps can be completely removed during the colonoscopy without any discomfort, using a wire loop biopsy forceps and/or burning the polyp base with an electric current (polyp resection). Resected polyps are then examined under a microscope by a pathologist to determine the tissue type and to detect cancer.
COMPLICATIONS ARE UNCOMMON BUT CAN INCLUDE:
Bleeding from the Polypectomy Site | Can be immediate or delayed for several days. Persistent bleeding can almost always be stopped by treatment during colonoscopy.
Perforation (a hole or tear) of the Colon | Rarely occur and may require surgery to repair.
If a large or unusual looking polyp is removed or left for possible surgical management, the endoscopist may mark the site by injecting small amounts of sterile India ink or carbon black into the bowel wall.
YOUR DOCTOR WILL DECIDE WHEN YOUR NEXT COLONOSCOPY IS NECESSARY BASED ON:
- Number and size of polyps removed
- Polyps’ tissue type
- Quality of the colon cleansing for your previous procedure (The quality of cleansing affects your doctor’s ability to see the surface of the colon)
- Family history of colon cancer
DOCTORS GENERALLY RECOMMEND A REPEAT COLONOSCOPY:
- 3 – 5 years | If polyps are small and the entire colon was well seen during your colonoscopy
- 10 years | If your repeat colonoscopy doesn’t show any indication of polyps
- Within months | If polyps were large and flat, to assure complete polyp removal