Polyps are non-cancerous (benign) growths usually found in the lining of the colon. Although they are typically harmless and do not always cause symptoms, colon polyps can sometimes become cancerous, especially if you have a family history or other risk factors for colon cancer. Dr. Glenn Madokoro, a gastroenterologist in Newport Beach, CA, offers colonoscopy screenings for polyp and colon cancer detection.
Polyp Detection and Treatment in Newport Beach, CA
A polyp is a cluster of excess cells that form in the colon or rectum. Anyone can develop polyps and they tend to become more common with age, but some people are at greater risk, and they can develop in younger people as well. In some cases, polyps may cause noticeable symptoms, including:
- Pain or abdominal cramps if the polyp is large enough to cause a blockage or obstruction in the bowel
- Bleeding from the rectum (there are several factors that can cause bleeding, ranging from hemorrhoids to colon cancer. If you experience persistent and ongoing bleeding with bowel movements, schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist as soon as possible)
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation/unexplained changes in bowel movements lasting longer than a week
Polyp Causes and Risk Factors
You may be more likely to develop colon polyps under the following circumstances:
- Are over age 50
- Have a family history of polyps or colon cancer
- A sedentary lifestyle low or absence of physical activity and regular exercise
- Obesity/being overweight
- Diets high in red and processed meats
- If you have diabetes, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis
- Tobacco use
The American Cancer Society recommends that healthy adults begin routine colon cancer screenings by age 50, but individuals with known risk factors may need to begin screenings earlier. Polyps are usually diagnosed through a colonoscopy or a procedure known as a flexible sigmoidoscopy, or through a stool test. If polyps are detected, they are often removed by a polypectomy (tissue is removed with forceps) or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. Lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise are also recommended to help maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of polyps and other health problems.
Find a Gastroenterologist in Newport Beach, CA
To learn more about polyp detection and treatment, contact our office by calling (949) 548-8800 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Madokoro today.