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Colon cancer blog: The story of colonic polyps and colon cancer

Colon cancer blog Colon cancer main Treatment of colon cancer  

Oct 11, 2005

The story of colonic polyps and colon cancer

The story of colonic polyps and colon cancerAlmost all of the colon cancers develop from benign polyps. These polyps could be easily found by colonoscopy and removed. However, less than half of people 50 and older follow national guidelines for colorectal screenings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Colorectal polyps are extra bits of tissue, generally shaped like a mushroom or a small dome, growing inside the colon or rectum. Polyps are common finding in the middle aged and elderly. An estimated 30 to 40 percent of adults over the age of 50 develop them. Most are benign and will never develop into cancer. However, one type known as adenomatous polyps, or adenomas, can become cancerous. Genetic changes in these polyps lead to changes in the growth and regulation of their cells, causing them to multiply abnormally. Most adenomas don't become cancerous, but experts say removing them is an excellent way to make sure they don't.

Some researchers say that it takes at least five years for a benign polyp to become cancerous, so frequent screenings are unnecessary. Health experts recommend that you begin having colorectal screening tests at age 50, or sooner if you or a family member has a history of polyps or colon cancer. Your physician can create a screening schedule appropriate for you, based on your individual level of risk.

Many studies have been done to see how a person's eating habits might promote or block the formation of polyps, but specific answers are still lacking. A fiber-rich diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans is commonly associated with a lower risk of colon cancer. Yet in one recent large population study, fiber consumption was unconnected to colon cancer occurrence. No randomized clinical trial has shown that increasing people's dietary fiber decreases the first appearance or recurrence of polyps either.

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Colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor that arises from the inner wall of the large intestine or rectum. Colorectal cancer is the third commonest cancer diagnosed in the United States. Each year over 100,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the United States. Most, of these cancers develop from growths in the colon called polyps. Removal of these polyps can prevent colon cancer.

Colon cancer blog: The story of colonic polyps and colon cancer

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