What Are Colon Polyps?
By Daniel J Alpert MD
April 08, 2020
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Polyps  

If your colonoscopy at Dr. Daniel Alpert's office in New York reveals that you have polyps, do you have cancer? While the answer is generally no, the detection of any polyp does warrant the need for a follow-up screening. Board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, Dr. Alpert, an Instructor and Attending Physician at New York University Medical Center is extremely skilled in the detection and removal of these small benign growths—read on to learn what polyps mean for your colorectal health.

At age 45...

Everyone's chances of developing hyperplastic polyps or adenomas increases. Although both kinds of polyps are benign, a small number of adenomas may develop into cancer. Sadly, when these adenomas are undetected, they can be deadly.

The American Cancer Society states that colon cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in the United States, and the risk of developing this condition exponentially increases at age 45 when colon polyps begin to show up.

Colon polyps and you

In his New York office, Dr. Alpert sees many people who have colon polyps. As most polyps cause no symptoms whatsoever, colonoscopy is the best means to detect and remove them.

Colonoscopy involves the insertion of a lighted tube into the anus, rectum, and large intestine. With this scope, Dr. Alpert can view the entire length of the colon, looking for abnormalities in the intestinal wall. If he sees polyps, he removes a sample for lab biopsy and also takes out the entire polyp via snare or cautery.

A colonoscopy takes about a half an hour to complete and is done under sedation with a drug called Diprivan, also known as Propofol. Following the procedure, patients recover very quickly and resume most activities the same day and all activities without restrictions the following day. In fact, people who have had colonoscopies indicate that the only bothersome part of the exam is the cleansing bowl prep performed the day before at home.

Limiting colon polyps

While some adults seem to have a genetic predisposition to developing colon polyps, others may develop then because of a high-fat, low-fiber diet. The aging process seems to play a significant role in their growth as well.

To help prevent polyp formation and keep your bowel cancer-free, your GI team recommends:

  • A diet rich in calcium and fiber
  • Routine colonoscopies beginning at age 45 (sooner if bowel problems run in your family)
  • Limiting red and processed meats
  • Eliminating all tobacco products

Learn more

In Manhattan, New York, Dr. Daniel Alpert and his team want their patients well-informed about their GI health and how to stay well. If you have questions about polyps or any other digestive health matter, please contact the office for a consultation at (212) 599-7910.

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