Colon polyps are a small clump of cells that form on the lining of the colon. While most colon polyps are harmless, they are generally removed during routine screenings, before they grow or develop into colon cancer. Since age is a risk factor for developing colon cancer, it is recommended that everyone begin screenings at age 50, is over 90% curable when found early.
Colon polyps often don't cause symptoms, which is why regular screening is so important. Some people with colon polyps experience:
- Rectal bleeding
- Change in stool color
- Change in bowel habits - either constipation or diarrhea that lasts longer than a week
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Iron deficiency anemia due to bleeding polyps, which makes you feel tired and short of breath
Polyps are routinely discovered and removed during a bowel examination. Options for removal include:
- A polypectomy
- Minimally invasive laparoscopy
- Colon and rectum removal. If you have a rare inherited syndrome, such as FAP, you may need surgery to remove your colon and rectum (total proctocolectomy).