• June 27, 2023

Colon Polyps and Colorectal Cancer: What You Must Know

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the U.S., affecting roughly 153,020 adults a year.

It can be one of the toughest conditions to deal with, causing a wide range of health complications and issues for patients, which is why early detection and diagnosis are key.

It’s important to understand what colon polyps and colorectal cancer are and how you can better focus on your health.

The difference between colon polyps and colorectal cancer

Colon polyps are cellular growths in your colon, can vary in size and shape, and are mostly harmless. They tend to form due to a variety of health conditions and lifestyle habits, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, and lack of movement in your day-to-day life. Sometimes, they may cause discomfort, but other times, they can go unnoticed till they grow or are detected in a colonoscopy at our hospital for special surgery.

While not all colon polyps are cancerous, they can likely grow to be. That’s why early diagnosis and regular monitoring are important in order to detect whether they are precancerous polyps (adenomas) or pose other health risks.

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Who can get colon polyps and colorectal cancer?

While certain health and lifestyle choices contribute to colon polyps and colorectal cancer, there’s no specific group that is immune. Anyone can develop polyps, regardless of age, gender, or lifestyle, making it all the more necessary to take precautions.

Teens and children may be at risk for colorectal cancer, but the risk increases significantly in adults age 50 and above.

How can you minimize your risk of developing these conditions?

Regular screening is key for early detection and prevention, which means you should be getting a colonoscopy every seven to 10 years, especially if you’re older than 45 and have a family history. You may need screening more frequently if you have a history of developing colon polyps or your health and lifestyle choices are resulting in discomfort or symptoms.

Additionally, follow basic health rules: Don’t smoke, cut down on red meats, maintain a healthy weight, exercise, keep your blood sugar in check, and monitor your health.

If you’re concerned about colon polyps and colorectal cancer, or other health conditions, you can choose from a list of some of the leading gastroenterologists at our specialty hospital in Houston. Our gastroenterologists can provide you with a wide range of gastrointestinal-related services, including direct screen colonoscopies, in Houston. Read more about our gastroenterology services here and scroll down the page to find the right physician near you.

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