Colon polyps are often benign, causing no problems to your health, but some can develop into cancer. Having regular screening for colon polyps ensures that none of them have a chance to develop into colon cancer. Meade Edmunds, MD, of Edmunds Gastroenterology in Knoxville, Tennessee, performs colonoscopies to screen for polyps. To arrange your colonoscopy, call Edmunds Gastroenterology today, or book an appointment using the online scheduler.
Colon polyps are growths that occur in the lining of the intestines. They may be small or large, and they may be benign (hyperplastic) or precancerous (adenomatous).
Polyps may possibly be caused by a high-fat, low fiber diet, but there is a strong genetic predisposition to develop polyps in first generation family members with polyps.
Typically, polyps are seen in patients over the age of 50; however, they can occur much earlier -- even in childhood. A family history of polyps or colon cancer drastically increases a patient’s risk for developing polyps.
If you have had previous polyps, then you’re at risk for developing further polyps, thereby requiring routine polyp surveillance.
Typically, none. Smaller polyps are usually asymptomatic, but once polyps become larger, there is an increased risk of colon cancer and the patient may have abdominal pain, bloating, a change in bowel habits, or blood in the stool.
You do not want to wait for the occurrence of symptoms, because that suggests the possibility of large polyps and increased risk of development of colon cancer.
Colonoscopy is the best way to detect polyps, and it’s recommended to start colon cancer surveillance at the age of 45. African-Americans are recommended to start colon cancer screening sooner.
Certain conditions may warrant colon evaluation at a much earlier age:
Colonoscopy is the best way to detect polyps, and often polyps can be easily removed via colonoscopy. Once the polyp has been removed, it is sent for pathological evaluation to look for cancerous cells. Depending upon the pathological analysis, a recommendation regarding further colonoscopies is made.
Yes, colonoscopy is a very safe outpatient procedure used to diagnose colon cancer and remove polyps. Bleeding and perforation of the colon may occur, but it is highly unlikely, occurring in 1 out of 1,000 procedures on national average.
Bleeding post colonoscopy typically stops on its own but may require assistance endoscopically whereas perforation requires surgery to repair.
To arrange your colonoscopy, call Edmunds Gastroenterology, or book an appointment online by clicking the button.
This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please consult with your primary care physician or a specialist regarding your symptoms.