A colon polyp is a small clump of cells that forms on the lining of the colon. Most colon polyps are harmless. But over time, some colon polyps can develop into colon cancer, which is often fatal when found in its later stages.
There are two main categories of polyps, non-neoplastic and neoplastic. Non-neoplastic polyps include hyperplastic polyps, inflammatory polyps and hamartomatous polyps. These types of polyps typically do not become cancerous. Neoplastic polyps include adenomas and serrated types. In general, the larger a polyp, the greater the risk of cancer, especially with neoplastic polyps.
Mutations in certain genes can cause cells to continue dividing even when new cells aren't needed. In the colon and rectum, this unregulated growth can cause polyps to form. Polyps can develop anywhere in your large intestine.
Colon polyps often don't cause symptoms. It's important to have regular screening tests, such as a colonoscopy, because colon polyps found in the early stages can usually be removed safely and completely. The best prevention for colon cancer is regular screening for polyps.
The best way to treat colonic polyps is to remove them. The polyps are then examined under the microscope to see what type of polyp it is and if there are any cancer cells present. Doctors can usually get rid of polyps without performing surgery.
However, you may need surgery to remove the polyps if they’re large and can’t be removed during a colonoscopy. In most cases, this can be done by laparoscopic surgery. This type of surgery is minimally invasive and uses an instrument called a laparoscope.
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