What is Bowel polyps?

Bowel polyps are benign growths that develop in the lining of the colon. They are usually benign and do not cause any symptoms. However, there are a few exceptions.

Sometimes, more than one polyp can develop at the same time. If a polyp has become cancerous, it can develop into a colon cancer.

The growths are usually small and round and are usually harmless. They are sometimes called pedunculated polyps or sessile polyps.

Is colon cancer possible?

Bowel polyps may also develop into colon cancer. It is a serious condition, but it is possible to treat it.

Bowel polyps are generally harmless.

However, colon cancer is also possible.

If a polyp is removed, it is possible to prevent it from becoming cancerous.

Is colon cancer preventable?

The best way to prevent colon cancer is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The National Cancer Institute recommends that people consider the following:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Limiting the amount of fat in the diet

However, even if a person has these healthy habits, there is a small risk that a polyp may become cancerous.

In fact, it is estimated that 1020% of all colon polyps are cancerous.

Bowel polyps and colon cancer

There are a number of risk factors that may increase the risk of developing colon cancer.

Some of these include:

  • Age As people get older, the risk increases.
  • Family history If a person has a family history of colon cancer, they are at an increased risk.
  • Sex Men are more likely to develop colon cancer than women.
  • Obesity Having excess body weight may increase the risk.
  • Poorly controlled diabetes Having diabetes increases the risk.
  • A diet high in fat and low in fiber This may increase the risk.

The presence of a polyp does not necessarily mean that a person will develop colon cancer.

However, if a polyp is removed, it is possible to prevent it from becoming cancerous.

Bowel polyps are usually benign. They may become cancerous in some cases, but this is rare.

It is estimated that 1 in 1000 people will develop colon cancer.

In addition, people who have had a previous colon cancer are more likely to develop a second cancer.

This is because if a person has a cancerous tumour, they will have an increased risk of developing a new malignant tumour.

People who have had a previous cancer are also more likely to develop other cancers, such as breast cancer.

Bowel polyps and colon cancer symptoms

The symptoms of colon cancer can vary from person to person.

However, the most common symptoms are:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Change in bowel habits, such as diarrhoea or constipation
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Urinary symptoms, such as the need to urinate more frequently, and a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • Vomiting blood

Bowel polyps do not usually cause symptoms.

However, there are a few exceptions.

If a polyp becomes cancerous, it can cause symptoms that include:

  • Abdominal pain this can be sudden or gradual
  • Bloody stools
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation

What are the causes of colon cancer?

There is a strong link between colon cancer and diet.

The National Cancer Institute explains that people who eat a diet that is high in processed meats, red meats and fast food such as burgers, hot dogs and pizza are at a greater risk of developing colon cancer.

However, there are also other risk factors that may increase the risk.

These include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Having a high fibre diet
  • A low fibre diet
  • Eating a lot of red meat

The link between colon cancer and diet has been identified by many studies.

It is also the same for bowel polyps.

The National Cancer Institute also notes that the following may be risk factors for colon cancer.

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Personal medical history
  • Diet
  • Environmental factors

Bowel polyps and colon cancer treatment

If a person has a colon cancer, they will have a treatment called surgery.

Sometimes, more than one procedure may be required.

Bowel polyps do not have to be removed. However, if a polyp is a sessile polyp, it is often removed during the same procedure.

Sometimes, a doctor may recommend a procedure called a colectomy.

This involves removing the entire colon.

The procedure is usually carried out under general anaesthetic.

The person will be asleep during the procedure and will wake up soon afterwards.

A doctor will monitor the person’s vital signs during the procedure. They may also perform other tests before and after the procedure.

A person who has had a colectomy may be referred to a specialist doctor for further treatment.

They may also be referred to a gastroenterologist. This is a doctor who specialises in diseases of the digestive system.

There are different ways to treat colon cancer.

Some people may only need to take medication for as long as they need to take it.

However, others may require additional treatment.

This may include chemotherapy. This is a type of medication.

Sometimes, a person may also require radiotherapy. This is a type of treatment that uses radiation.

A person may also require surgery. This involves removing the tumour.

Sometimes, a person may need to have a procedure called a colonoscopy.

This involves a doctor inserting a long, flexible tube with a camera into the anus.

The doctor will look at the inside of the colon to check for signs of cancer.

Bowel polyps and colon cancer diet

There is no specific diet that has been shown to prevent colon cancer or to treat colon cancer.

However, a person can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer by maintaining a healthy diet.

Summary

Bowel polyps are benign growths that can develop into colon cancer.

However, removal of a polyp does not mean that a person will develop cancer.

The best way to prevent a polyp from becoming cancerous is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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