What You Need to Know About Colon Polyps
One of the earliest indicators of risk for colon cancer is polyps. Many colon polyps are considered pre-cancerous growths that can lead to this dangerous disease. Understanding what colon polyps are and what you can do to prevent them is important to protecting your health.
What Is a Colon Polyp?
Polyps are growths of mutated cells. While there are other types of polyps in the colon, the main type called adenomas are the ones that are usually discussed in relation to colon cancer. These small growths can begin growing in adult colons as early as in the 20’s. They are slow-growing, but the longer they are in place, the higher risk there is for mutations in the polyps that can become colon cancer.
Prevention of Colon Polyps
There are several factors that can increase the risk for polyps and colon cancer. These include:
- Eating red meat frequently – more than once a week is not recommended
- Lack of exercise
- Frequent alcohol use
- Lack of fiber
- Those of African descent are at higher risk for colon cancer
Risk for colon cancer is higher as you get older and men are at higher risk for developing polyps than women. A family history of colon cancer also puts you at higher risk. It is recommended that those with higher risk factors undergo a colonoscopy to identify polyp growths. During the procedure, polyps can be removed to help reduce the risk of cancer down the road.
Preventing colon polyps is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of colon cancer. However, if you have high risk factors, schedule a consultation with a gastroenterologist to determine when you should have a colonoscopy.
Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David P. Yamini, MD
Westside Gastro Care
2001 Santa Monica Blvd #1286
Santa Monica, CA 90404