Colon Polyps Q & A
What causes colon polyps?
Colon polyps are small growths that are the result of an overgrowth of cells. They are usually small, rarely a cause for concern, and take one of two forms.
Non-neoplastic polyps are sometimes referred to as inflammatory polyps and are present in bowels affected by inflammatory bowel disease.
Neoplastic polyps are more likely to produce cancer cells than non-neoplastic polyps. The two types of neoplastic polyps are serrated and adenomas.
Serrated types are much more prone to becoming cancerous than other types and require careful monitoring. Polyps are more prevalent as you age, making it essential to receive routine colorectal exams.
Are all polyps cancerous?
Not all polyps are cancerous. The serrated form of neoplastic polyps is at a higher risk of becoming cancerous, while adenomas have a much lower risk. The location and size of a polyp will also play roles in determining their eventual risk of producing cancer cells.
Polyps that are associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) produce the least risk of all when it comes to colon or rectal cancer.
Your family history is one of the most significant indicators as to the types of polyps your body will produce. That includes your genetic disposition to gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Should polyps be removed?
A polypectomy is performed to remove polyps that have grown large enough to obstruct the bowel or have tested positive for the presence of cancer cells.
Non-neoplastic polyps that develop due to an inflammatory bowel disorder are considered to be harmless unless tests prove otherwise. In most cases, if the polyps show no sign of growth or cancer cells, they are left in place.
When polyps begin to grow larger than average, your risk of cancer starts to increase.
The NYGA providers consider each case on its own merit. Before performing surgery, your family medical history and any diagnosis involving inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome will be taken into consideration.