Dr. Deirdre Hart, elective colon and rectal surgeon, talks about polyp removal.
What is a polyp?
A polyp is a precancerous growth. They can vary in size from a couple millimeters to several centimeters.
Why should polyps be removed?
Most colon cancers start from polyps, so we want to do the colonoscopy and remove those polyps before they have a chance to develop into a colon cancer.
Will a patient with a polyp be diagnosed with colon cancer?
If we find a polyp, that does not mean that you will get a colon cancer. It does mean that you get more frequent colonoscopies so that we can remove those polyps before they become a cancer in the case that you were to make more polyps.
How frequently is a colonoscopy needed if a polyp is found?
It would depend on the pathology and size of the polyp we initially found. Sometimes we find polyps that have not yet become a cancer but are too big to remove with the colonoscope, which would mean we would need to do a colon resection. Otherwise, we would need to repeat the colonoscopy anywhere from six months to five years.