1. Will all colon polyps develop into cancer?
Not all colon polyps develop into cancer. However, adenoma grows in size over time and can eventually develop into in situ cancer as it invades the mucous membrane. Further, it has been found that when it crosses the basement membrane, it becomes an advanced cancer, and then metastasizes to other organs. In other words, adenoma is an early stage of colorectal cancer and must be removed.
If polyps are found on the colonoscopy, it is not clear to the naked eye whether they are adenoma or not. That’s why all polyps should be excised and biopsied.
2. How often should an endoscopy be performed when colon polyps are diagnosed?
If a cancer cell is found on the biopsy of the removed polyp, additional tests or surgery may be necessary.
Follow-up colonoscopy is still necessary after polypectomy. This is because the cancer cells may be hidden in the polyps, and even if they are removed, the polyps remain intact. As a result, polyps may recur in the future or occur in other areas.
If a biopsied proliferative polyp that no longer requires treatment is completely excised, it is recommended to undergo a colonoscopy five years later. However, if the number of adenomas is 3 or more, or the size is 1 cm or more, the tissue type is tubular or villous adenoma, accompanied by high grade dysplasia, and if a serous polyp of 1 cm or more is found, colonoscopy should be performed after 3 years.
3. Is there a way to prevent colon polyps?
Colon polyps can be found at any age, but after age 40 it is known to be more prone to age. Therefore, to prevent colon polyps in adults, it is advisable to undergo colonoscopy at age 45 even if there are no symptoms.
If any of your immediate family members have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer or colon polyps, you should consult your doctor to have your colon screened before age 50.
As adenomas develop into colorectal cancer, the risk factors for polyps are the same as those for colorectal cancer. Therefore, the following precautions are needed in everyday life.
- It is recommended to reduce the consumption of greasy food or excessive meat. As a cooking method, steaming is better than frying or burning directly on fire.
- It is recommended to eat foods high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables.
- It is recommended to maintain normal weight through regular exercise and dietary control.
- Drinking should be avoided.
- No smoking.