What Are Colon Polyps and Why Should I Be Concerned About Them?

What Are Colon Polyps and Why Should I Be Concerned About Them?

You’ve been told that you need to be screened for the presence of potentially problematic polyps in your colon or you’ve already had a colonoscopy during which polyps were found. So you understand that there’s a connection between polyps and colorectal cancer, but what is this link, exactly?

To shed some light, the surgeons at Rockwall Surgical Specialists offer this post about colon polyps — what they are and how they may be related to colon cancer. In explaining this connection, our hope is that you better understand the importance of regular screening for colon cancer through a colonoscopy.

Aren’t polyps noncancerous?

Polyps can develop in several places in your body and, in most cases, they represent benign (noncancerous) growths of tissue. Nevertheless, polyps, including those in your colon, are the result of abnormal cell growth — and certain types of these growths can become precancerous and cancerous.

Colon polyps and growth patterns

The polyps that develop in your colon are growths that start in the inner lining of your colon and extend into the lumen, which is the hollow center of your colon. To the naked eye, most colon polyps look quite similar, but there are key differences that can be determined under a microscope.

For example, one of the attributes that a pathologist — the person who studies the tissue biopsies — looks for in a polyp is certain growth patterns. Polyps have two primary growth patterns: tubular and villous. Some polyps can feature both growth patterns.

Polyps that are less than a half-inch usually feature a tubular growth pattern, while larger polyps typically feature a villous growth pattern and are more likely to contain cancerous cells.

Removing all polyps

When we perform a colonoscopy, we remove all polyps as a matter of course. Once the pathologist takes a closer look, we can better recommend next steps.

In the best case scenario, we don’t find any polyps in your colon. In the next-best case scenario, we find, and remove, polyps, but upon further study by the pathologist, they don’t represent any future risks.

If, however, the pathologist finds the presence of precancerous cells, we need to screen you more often through colonoscopies. Going a step further, if we find cancerous cells, you need to take the next steps to treat colon cancer, which might include colon surgery.

We understand that we’ve thrown a lot of science and medical jargon your way, but our hope is that you come away understanding the importance of screening your colon for potentially problematic polyps.

If you have more questions about colon polyps or you’d like to schedule your colonoscopy, please contact one of our locations in Rowlett, Rockwall, Greenville, Forney, or Terrell, Texas.

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