what makes colon polyp grow


What makes colon polyp grow? Gloria asked. She just had a colonoscopy after turning 50 a few months ago. This is a common question asked by patients with colon polyps. First, we need to know what colon polyps are.

What is a colon polyp?

Colon polyps are growths that form on the innermost layer of colon wall. They are caused by mutations in cell growth and proliferation. These mutations may be due to genetic or environmental factors. Colon polyps are fairly common especially in adults. About one-third to one-half of adults have them.

What are the types of colon polyps?

Colon polyps can be benign, precancerous or cancerous. On your colonoscopy pathology report, polyps are classified as adenoma or serrated polyps. Adenomatous polyps are further classified into tubular adenoma, villous adenoma and tubulovillous adenoma. Serrated polyps can be hyperplastic, sessile serrated adenoma or traditional serrated adenoma.

Hyperplastic polyps are generally benign without malignant potential. Adenomatous polyps, serrated adenomas and traditional serrated adenoma have the potential to grow into malignant tumor.


How are colon polyps treated?

The best way to treat a colon polyp is to remove it. Removal of a polyp is called polypectomy. There are several ways your doctor can remove a polyp.  These include forcep polypectomy, cold snare polypectomy, hot snare polypectomy, endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR), endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) and endoscopic full thickness resection (EFTR).

If a colon polyp is completely removed, that polyp is gone forever. Because a new one can grow, this is why you need surveillance colonoscopy.

What makes colon polyp grow?

Polyps grow as a result of mutations in cells. Genes and lifestyles affect the growth of colon polyps. If you have any of the colon cancer genes, then you are more likely to have colon polyps. Tobacco use is associated with colorectal cancer. Excessive alcohol use increases of the risk of many cancers including colon cancer.

Red meat is associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer. Research suggests that there is a 20 percent higher risk of colorectal cancer per 100 gram per day increase in red meat and 50 gram per day increase in processed meat.

Fiber appears to lower colorectal cancer risk. Research suggests that there is a 10 percent reduction in colorectal cancer risk for every 10 gram per day in dietary fiber intake. Obesity is associated with colorectal cancer. Studies have shown that colorectal cancer risk increases by 2 to 3 percent per unit increase in body mass index (BMI) and per inch increase in waist circumference.

Physical activity reduces the risk of colorectal cancer regardless of body size and diet. The American Cancer Society recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week.


How can I prevent another colon polyp from growing?

You should follow your doctor’s recommendation on when you come back for surveillance colonoscopy. This is one of the best things you can do. Do not use tobacco. Limit alcohol consumption. Restrict the consumption of red meat and processed meat. Eat more fiber. Exercise regularly and keep the weight off.

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