Colon polyps are small growths that develop on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. They can range in size from tiny, almost invisible bumps to large growths. Some polyps are flat, while others are raised and have a stalk-like structure.
They are usually benign (non-cancerous), but over time, some may turn into colon cancer. That’s why it’s important to have them checked and removed if necessary.
There are two main types of colon polyps: adenomatous and hyperplastic. Adenomatous polyps are more likely to turn into colon cancer and need to be removed. Hyperplastic polyps are less likely to become cancerous and are often left in place.
Colon polyps can lead to colon cancer if left untreated. Cancer can develop slowly over time, and you would not even know it unless you’ve been checked by a gastroenterologist. In 2023, an estimated 153,020 people will be diagnosed with this highly preventable disease. They will join more than 1.4 million colorectal cancer patients and survivors living today.
The best way to find colon polyps is through a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy, a doctor uses a flexible tube with a camera to view the inside of the colon and rectum. If polyps are found, they can be removed during the procedure. Getting polyps removed before they become cancerous lowers your risk of developing colorectal cancer by almost 80 percent.
The recommended age to start colon cancer screenings is 45 for most people. However, regardless of age if you have blood in your stool, changes in bowel habits, or abdominal pain contact your provider. In addition, if you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, you may need to start getting tested at a younger age. It’s also important to talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors and when you should start getting tested. Book your colon cancer screening today.