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What Exactly Are Colon Polyps?

Colon polyps are small growths that develop in the lining of the large intestine or rectum that are detected during a colonoscopy. Removing them can reduce your risk of colon cancer. Dr. Abby Crume specializes in disorders of the colon and colon/rectal surgery. She can provide you with a colonoscopy at her office in Salt Lake City, UT.

Types of Colon Polyps

There are three variants of colon polyps:

  • Flat
  • Raised (sessile)
  • Stalked (pedunculated)

Polyps occur in 30-50 percent of adults, but not all of them will develop into cancer. Whichever type of polyp you have, they can be safely removed.

Risk Factors 

Polyps are caused by cellular changes in the lining of the large intestine. These genetic changes alter the normal cell life cycle. Factors that may increase your risk of developing colon polyps include:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive alcohol

Detecting Colon Polyps

Your doctor will be able to find colon polyps using one of the following diagnostic procedures:

  • Colonoscopy: For this procedure, your doctor will gently guide a flexible camera-tipped tube into your rectum and through your colon. The camera will reveal the presence of polyps. Salt Lake City residents who have an average risk of colon cancer and are over the age of 50 should have a colonoscopy. If the results are normal, you will have one every ten years.
  • Sigmoidoscopy: Your doctor will guide a fine, flexible tube into your rectum to examine the lower third of your large intestine.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan: This device takes images of your large intestine that highlight areas where polyps are present.

If you want to find out more about colonoscopies or personally talk to Dr. Crume, call her Salt Lake City practice at (801) 263-1621.

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