A person is at an increased risk for colon cancer if a polyp is found during imaging. How they will be followed after that discovery is based on several factors such as the amount found in one imaging, the size of each polyp and its shape. Here’s a look at how often one might be monitored if a polyp is found:
Six months: Those whose polyp was only partially removed.
Three years: Those who had more than two polyps, a polyp larger than half an inch in size or a polyp with a broad faced base.
Five years: Patients who were found to have only one or two small polyps.
There are four main types of colon polyps. Hyperplastic polyps are benign and do not cause any harm. Adenomatous polyps account for two-thirds of all polyps and can become cancerous although only a small percentage ever do. Serrated polyps are flat and can be difficult to see on imaging, however, hold the highest risk of turning into cancer. Inflammatory-type polyps are associated with people with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. These types of polyps are usually benign.
Dr. Wilcher said the good news is that it is usually a slow process for a polyp to turn into cancer, which is why it is important for individuals to undergo preventive screening when they reach age 50. Certain types of polyps can also be hereditary. Family members who know it runs in their family should talk to their doctor about being screened at an earlier age.
For more information on polyps or to find a Premier Health Specialists' physician near you, visit www.premierhealthspecialists.org/generalsurgery.
Premier HealthNet is one of the largest groups of pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, and urgent care practices in southwest Ohio. For more information, go online to www.premierhealthnet.com/news.