Polyps are one of the most common conditions that affect the colon and rectum, occurring in 15 to 20 percent of the adult population. Although most polyps are benign, certain polyps can be related to cancer. In fact, nearly all colon cancers develop from polyps, but the polyps grow slowly, usually over a period of years. But what types of colonic polyps do doctors describe? And what are colonic polyps to begin?
The digestive tract stretches from the mouth to the anus. As food travels along this 30-foot tract, nutrients are broken down to be absorbed by the body and used to build cells and produce energy. The last part of the digestive tract is a long muscular tube called the large intestine. The large intestine absorbs water from stool and changes it from a liquid to a solid. Stool is the waste that passes through the rectum and anus as a bowel movement.
Colon - The colon is the upper 4 to 6 feet of the large intestine. The colon's main function is to absorb water, salt and other minerals from colon contents.
Rectum - The rectum makes up the lower 8 to 10 inches of the large intestine. The rectum stores waste until it's eliminated from the body.
What is a colon polyp?
Healthy cells in the body grow and divide in an orderly way — a process that's controlled by two groups of genes. Mutations in any of these genes can cause cells to continue dividing even when new cells aren't needed. In the colon and rectum, this unregulated growth can cause polyps to form.
A colon polyp is a small clump of cells (or growth) that forms on the surface lining of the large intestine. Polyps can occur throughout the large intestine or rectum, but are more commonly found in the left colon, sigmoid colon, or rectum. Sometimes, a person can have more than one colon polyp. Colon polyps can be small or large and flat (sessile) or raised and attached with a stalk-like base (pedunculated). Colon polyps can also have a wide base (villous) or a thin base (mushroom or filament). Over a long period of time, some of these polyps may become malignant cancer, especially villous polyps. In general, the larger a polyp, the greater the likelihood of cancer.
Types of colon polyps
Although most colon polyps are harmless, some become cancerous over time The majority of polyps aren't cancerous (malignant). Yet like most cancers, polyps are the result of abnormal cell growth. But some types of polyps may already be cancer or can become cancer. The main types of colon polyps include:
Do doctors know what cause colonic polyps? And are you at risk of developing one? Click here to learn more about minimizing your risk for colon polyps and what causes polyps in colon.
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