You did your duty and got a colonoscopy and got some unexpected news along with it — you have colon polyps.
Your first reaction is: What are polyps are, and are they dangerous? Your response is normal and perfectly understandable because the unknown is always unsettling. That’s why Dr. Ayub Hussain at Northside Gastroenterology Associates in Cypress and Houston, Texas, loves explaining polyps and other medical conditions. He believes knowledge is power, and understanding helps you face upcoming decisions calmly and rationally.
To that end, this blog post explores colon polyps and answers your most pressing questions.
What are colon polyps?
Colon polyps are quite common, especially as people age. Although they’re abnormal growths that develop on the lining of your colon or rectum, most of them aren't cancerous.
That said, some polyps can eventually become cancer if you don’t detect or ignore them, so it's important to get screened regularly here at Northside Gastroenterology Associates.
Don't worry; we'll help you stay on top of it and catch any potential issues early on.
Why do I have colon polyps?
The jury is still out on the exact cause of colon polyps, and researchers don’t know why some people get them, and others don’t, but we do know that certain factors increase your likelihood of developing colon polyps. Your chances of getting colon polyps increase if:
- You’re 45 or older
- Colon polyps run in your family
- Colon cancer runs in your family
Also, if you’ve had colon polyps before, your risk of developing more is higher.
Are colon polyps dangerous?
This is the question at the forefront of your mind, and rightly so. Hearing you have an abnormal growth anywhere is scary, and your first thought is cancer. The good news is that most colon polyps are completely harmless and cancer-free.
Most people learn they have polyps after undergoing a routine colonoscopy, never realizing you had polyps.
However, some experience symptoms of colon polyps, such as:
- Bloody stool
- Anemia (iron deficiency) from bleeding
If you experience these symptoms, talk to Dr. Hussain. He can run diagnostic tests to determine whether the polyps are cancerous.
What if my colon polyps are cancerous?
If a biopsy confirms that your colon polyps are cancerous, Dr. Hussain removes them during a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy prodecure, which uses a bendable tube about the diameter of your finger.
He also determines whether the malignant cells were contained entirely in the removed polyp or if any remain in your colon tissue. If all the cancerous cells are gone, you get a clean bill of health. However, if the cancerous cells have spread, Dr. Hussain discusses your options for further treatment.
Are colon polyps preventable?
Colorectal cancer is the third cause of cancer deaths; however, those rates have been dropping by about 1% annually in older folks thanks to heightened awareness of colon cancer screenings and controllable lifestyle factors that increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
You can give your colon the best shot at avoiding polyps and cancer. That means steering clear of processed and fried foods and red meat and trading them in for veggies, fruits, beans, and bran.
Eating well, maintaining a healthy body weight, and getting regular colonoscopies is your best defense against colon polyps and colorectal cancer.
To schedule a colonoscopy and determine the best schedule for regular screenings based on age and family medical history, contact Northside Gastroenterology Associates at 281-477-9305 or book online.