What's the treatment for colon polyps?
The great majority of polyps can be removed during colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy by snaring them with a wire loop that simultaneously cuts the stalk of the polyp and cauterizes it to prevent bleeding. Some small polyps may be cauterized or
burned with an electrical current. Risks of polyp removal (polypectomy) include bleeding and perforation of the colon.
Polyps that are too large to snare or that can't be reached safely need to be surgically removed - often using laparoscopic techniques. This means your surgeon performs the operation through several tiny incisions in your abdominal wall, using small instruments with attached cameras that display your colon on a video monitor. Laparoscopic surgery may result in a faster and less painful recovery than does traditional surgery using a single large incision. Once the section of your colon that contains the polyp is removed, the polyp can't recur, but you have at least a 30 percent chance of developing new polyps in other areas of your colon in the future. For that reason, follow-up care is extremely important.
For people with familial polyposis, complete removal of the large intestine and rectum eliminates the risk of cancer. Alternatively, the large intestine is removed and the rectum is joined to the small intestine; this procedure sometimes eliminates the rectal polyps and thus is preferred by many experts. The remaining part of the rectum is inspected by sigmoidoscopy every 3 to 6 months, so that new polyps can be removed. If new polyps appear too rapidly, however, the rectum must also be removed. If the rectum is removed, a surgical opening is created through the abdominal wall from the small intestine; this procedure is called an ileostomy. Bodily wastes are eliminated through the ileostomy into a disposable bag.
Some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are being studied for their ability to reverse the growth of polyps in people with familial polyposis. Their effects are temporary, however, and once these drugs are discontinued, the polyps begin to grow again.
More information on colorectal cancer
What is colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum, anus, and appendix.
What causes colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer is a disease resulting from mutations in epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract.
What're the risk factors for colorectal cancer? - Risk factors for colorectal cancer include family history of colon cancer, age, smoking, diet, virus.
What're the symptoms of colorectal cancer? - Symptoms of colorectal cancer vary depending on the location of the cancer within the colon or rectum, though there may be no symptoms at all.
How is colorectal cancer screened and diagnosed? - Colorectal cancer usually is diagnosed by a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended in individuals who are at increased risk.
What's treatment for colorectal cancer? - Treatment for colorectal cancer depends mostly on the size, location and extent of the tumor. Surgery to remove the tumor is the most common treatment.
How to prevent the development of colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer can be associated with known risk factors. Many risk factors are modifiable though not all can be avoided.
What is a colon polyp? - Colon polyps are growths that stick out from the lining of the lower intestine. Polyps can develop anywhere in your large intestine.
What're the symptoms of colon polyps? - Smptoms of colon polyps include rectal bleeding, blood in stool, constipation or diarrhea, pain or obstruction.
What's the treatment for colon polyps? - For people with familial colon polyps, complete removal of the large intestine and rectum eliminates the risk of cancer.