If you have heard the word “colonoscopy,” you may also have heard the word “polyp.” But what do these little tissue growths mean for your health? What happens when polyps are found during your colonoscopy?
The majority of polyps are small (less than half an inch) raised areas or growths that reside benignly until removed during your colonoscopy. When detected, polyps are removed at the time of your colonoscopy and sent to pathology for evaluation.
There are different types of polyps, the majority of which are benign. The polyps of concern are adenomatous polyps, which do have a tendency to turn into cancer growths if left unattended
Adenomatous polyp subtypes include:
- Pedunculated: These look like mushroom stalks and are usually benign
- Sessile: These are flat, so they are harder to detect, but they are also usually benign
- Tubular: Tubular polyps are also rarely cancerous
- Serrated: These saw-toothed polyps are usually benign as well
- Villous: There’s over a 50% chance that these will be cancerous
- Tubulovillous: Because of their larger surface area, these polyps present an increased risk for cancer
This list is just an overview. The American Cancer Society has much more in-depth resources for understanding your polyps if you’d like to learn more. Regardless, it’s important to remember that when your doctor gives you the report on polyps after your colonoscopy, there may be no cause for concern. However, to prevent negative outcomes—and to intervene before adenomatous polyps turn cancerous—it’s important to face your polyps head on. Colonoscopies are the best way to remove your polyps and the most effective way to prevent colon cancer.
To schedule a colonoscopy to get the lowdown on what might be happening with polyps in your colon, contact GI Associates today by calling 877-442-7762 or fill out our online appointment request form.