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A polyp is extra tissue that grows inside your body. Colon polyps grow in the large intestine. The large intestine, also called the colon, is part of your digestive system. (Read about "Digestive System") It's a long, hollow tube at the end of your digestive tract where your body makes and stores stool.
Most polyps are benign, which means they are not cancer. But over time, some types of polyps can turn into cancer. To be safe, doctors remove all polyps and test them.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says that you may have a greater chance of getting polyps if:
Other risk factors according to NIDDK include:
Many times, you can have polyps and not even know it. But sometimes there are symptoms. Bleeding from the anus or blood in the stool can be a symptom. So can constipation or diarrhea that lasts more than a week. (Read about "Gastrointestinal Bleeding" "Constipation" "Diarrhea")
There are tests that can be used to determine if polyps are present. They include:
If polyps are present, they will need to be removed. Sometimes, the doctor will remove the polyps during sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Or you may need to have surgery. Removed polyps will be biopsied to test for cancer. (Read about "Biopsy" "Colorectal Cancer")
If you've had polyps, the doctor may want you to get tested regularly in the future.
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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