Colon polyps are very common. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, anywhere from 15% to 40% of American adults may develop them. Polyps are detected through a colonoscopy, which takes images from inside your colon to look for abnormal growths and lesions. Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker, a gastroenterologist in Houston, TX, offers diagnostic testing and treatment options for digestive diseases and disorders.
Colonoscopy and Colon Cancer Screening in Houston, TX
What you need to know about polyps and screening for colon cancer:
Frequently Asked Questions About Colon Cancer
Q: What are polyps?
A: Colon polyps are growths that develop in the lining of your colon (large intestine) and the rectum. While anyone can develop them, they tend to be more common in older adults, men, people with a family history of colorectal cancers, and people with digestive disorders and diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. Lifestyle factors like obesity and smoking may also increase the chances of developing colon polyps in some people.
Q: Are polyps cancerous?
A: In most cases, colon polyps are not cancerous, but some types of polyps can eventually develop into colorectal cancer over time in certain people. If you have a family history of colorectal cancers and other factors that may increase your risk, the gastroenterologist may recommend earlier and more frequent colon cancer screenings depending on your situation.
Q: Do colon polyps have to be removed?
A: If polyps are detected during a colonoscopy, the gastroenterologist will typically remove them and send them for testing (biopsy).
Q: Do colon polyps cause symptoms?
A: Usually not. Because colon cancer can be difficult to detect in the early stages when it is most treatable, regular screenings are necessary to prevent and catch it as early as possible. For healthy adults with a normal risk, screenings are usually recommended at age 50. Individuals with a high risk or history of colorectal cancer may need to undergo screening earlier and more frequently.
Find a Gastroenterologist in Houston, TX
For more information about polyps and colon cancer screening and treatment, contact Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants by calling (713) 777-2555 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Shivshanker today.