A colon polyp is a small growth of tissue that projects from the lining of a section of the large intestine known as the colon. Polyps are common and increasingly so as people age. Colorectal polyps, which are polyps in the colon or rectum, are estimated to occur in at least 30 percent of adults who are 50 years old or more in the United States. Colorectal polyps also occur in children with an estimated 6 percent affected, rising to 12 percent in those who experience intestinal bleeding. Most colon or bowel polyps are harmless, but some can develop into cancer. If they do, it can take many years for them to turn cancerous.
An intestinal polyp is any mass of tissue that arises from the bowel wall and protrudes into the lumen. Most are asymptomatic except for minor bleeding, which is usually occult. The main concern is malignant transformation; most colon cancers arise in a previously benign adenomatous polyp. Diagnosis is by endoscopy. Treatment is endoscopic removal. Polyps may be sessile or pedunculated and vary considerably in size.
JOHN L. This is Part II of a two-part article on anorectal conditions. Patients with a wide variety of anorectal lesions present to family physicians.
Surgery is usually the main treatment for rectal cancer. Radiation and chemotherapy are often given before or after surgery. The type of surgery used depends on the stage extent of the cancer, where it is, and the goal of the surgery. A key piece of information needed before surgery is how close the tumor is to the anus.