Did you know that you may have colon polyps, which can lead to colon cancer, and never experience a single sign or symptom? Colon polyps are prevalent among men and women over 50 years of age; African Americans are at an even highest risk at a younger age. Seeing your doctor for a routine physical examination at least once per year and scheduling your colonoscopy as recommended are important steps in detecting and diagnosing colon polyps and colon cancer early and improving your chance of survival. Contact Dr. Farouk Tootla in Waterford, Michigan, to learn more today.
Colon polyps are cell overgrowths located on the colon lining. Although many polyps are completely harmless, others can become cancerous over time. Colon cancer is often fatal when not detected early.
Anyone can develop colon polyps, but people over 50 are at highest risk. Other risk factors include smoking, obesity, type 2 diabetes, alcohol use, and family history of colon cancer. Additionally, African Americans and those with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are at higher risk of developing polyps than others.
Colon polyps produce no symptoms in many patients, which is why routine testing is so important for patients over 50 years old. The only way to detect polyps is through diagnostic testing.
In patients who do display symptoms, the following are common:
It’s important that you see a doctor if you’re experiencing unexplained abdominal pain, a change in bowel patterns, or notice blood in your stool. Additionally, you should be screened for polyps even if you don’t have symptoms, if you’re over 50, or have a family history of colon cancer.
Polyps are generally diagnosed during a colonoscopy, a procedure in which a lighted tube is inserted past the rectum and into the colon to allow the doctor to examine the lining of the colon.
Colon polyps are usually removed during a colonoscopy so they can be tested. This can be done using a forceps, laparoscopic surgery, or even removal of sections or total colon and rectum. Removal of the colon and rectum is reserved for severe cases that can’t be treated any other way.