Colon polyps are a fleshy growth on the inside (the lining) of the colon, and are common with more than 200,000 cases each year in the United States. Most of the polyps are harmless, but they are important because they may become cancerous. Their size, number, and microscopic anatomy can predict if you are more likely to develop more polyps and colon cancer.
Colon polyps often don’t cause symptoms. When they do, the symptoms may include:
- Red blood mixed with stool
- Red blood on the surface of stools
- Black stools
- Fainting and pale skin
Follow-up surveillance of patients with colon polyps depends on:
- Presence of a family history of cancer
- Number of polyps that are found
- Size of the polyps
- Polyps’ histology
Colon cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Regular screening tests, such as colonoscopy, can discover precancerous polyps so that they can be removed before becoming cancerous. They are treated by endoscopic removal and occasionally by surgery. Talk with your primary care provider about when you should begin screening with one of our board certified physicians.