Anyone can develop colon polyps, and in fact 30% of those over the age of 50 have them regardless of ethnicity or gender. Some percentage of these polyps can become cancerous. We get screened for colon cancer to catch them early and have them removed before they can turn into cancerous tumors. What are the main causes of colon polyps?
Clumps of abnormal cells can grow on the inner lining of our colon, large intestine, or rectum called polyps. They can be flat, raised, or grow on a stalk. The percentage of polyps that are cancerous or become cancerous depends on several factors like their size and shape when it formed.
It can take up to 10 years for a polyp to become cancerous. You may still have time to get screened if it’s been a while. Contact Digestive Health Services to schedule a colon screening in Downers Grove.
Types of Polyps
Sessile polyps are slightly raised like a bump. They are also known as adenomas and can be better characterized by seeing them under a microscope. This type of polyp is more likely to develop into cancer.
Pedunculated polyps are raised on a stalk and look like a cauliflower or mushroom. They have a saw-toothed appearance under a microscope and can become cancerous.
A third type called non-neoplastic polyps do not become cancerous. They consist of polyps derived from inflammation, damaged tissue, or a mixture of cells due to faulty development.
Causes of Colon Polyps
Like many things in life, you can control some things but not everything.
You are more likely to develop colon polyps with the following factors out of your control.
- Age is the biggest risk once you reach 50.
- Relatives who had colon polyps like a parent or sibling, but even grandparents, uncles, and aunts increase your risk for developing polyps.
- Having an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis or Crohns’s disease.
- Some studies show those with diabetes or chronic kidney disease are more likely to have polyps.
Keep in mind, having polyps does not mean you will have colon cancer. It just means you should be diligent about screenings.
Lifestyle choices can affect your risk for polyps and colon cancer, and are in your control.
- Avoid foods high in saturated fats as well as processed meats including lunch meats, sausage, bacon, hot dogs.
- Reduce the amount of red meat in your diet.
- Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol can increase the risk of polyps and colon cancer.
- Obesity can be a contributing factor.
How To Prevent Polyps
There are a few lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the risk of developing polyps and/or colon cancer.
The best way to prevent colon cancer is to follow the prescribed schedule of getting screened.
Contact Digestive Health Services at 630-434-9312 if you would like to schedule a colonoscopy or if you have more questions about the causes of polyps.