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Colon polyps are growths in the colon or the rectum. The cause of most colon polyps is not known, and most people who get them do not have any problems. But a certain kind can turn into cancer. For this reason, regular testing for colon polyps is important for people as they get older. It is also important for anyone who has an increased risk for colon cancer.
Polyps are usually found through routine colon cancer screening tests. Although most colon polyps are not cancerous, they are usually removed and then tested for cancer. Screening for colon cancer saves lives because the cancer can usually be cured if it is caught early.
If you have a polyp that is the type that can turn into cancer, you may need more tests to examine your entire colon. The doctor will remove any other polyps that he or she finds, and you will be tested more often.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Regular examinations to look for colon polyps are the best way to prevent polyps from turning into colon cancer. These can include stool tests, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and CT colonography. Talk with your doctor about a testing schedule that is right for you.
There is no home treatment that can prevent colon polyps. But these steps may help lower your risk for cancer.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: September 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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