What are colon polyps?
Colon polyps are protuberances that appear on the mucous that lines the interior of the colon. Normally they measure a few millimeters and can vary in shape. Polyps are the result of cellular changes which have the potential to develop maliciously into cancerous lesions. Eliminating them early is a step toward avoiding colorectal cancer.
What are the symptoms?
Generally there are no symptoms associated with polyps when they are small in size. Larger polyps can suffer hemorrhage which can lead to blood in feces or anemia.
How are polyps diagnosed?
Currently the best method for the detection of polyps is the colonoscopy, a study which allows the direct visualization of the colon to identify polyps. Removal of the polyps can take place during the same procedure.
Other examinations may find polyps but are faced with the challenge of detecting the smaller and flat type of polyps that may be malicious nonetheless.
Who must undergo a colonoscopy?
All patients with the following criteria:
- -Older than 45 who has never undergone a colonoscopy
- -Family history of polyps or colorectal cancer
- -Anyone who has been diagnosed with polyps but has not had a colonoscopy in the last five years
How are polyps treated?
The vast majority of polyps can be removed during the colonoscopy. This is known as endoscopic polpyectomy. Most of the times this can be accomplished at an outpatient clinic. All polyps must be analyzed under a microscope after their removal in order to characterize their malignancy. Patients who are diagnosed with polyps must undergo control colonoscopies periodically.