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What Exactly Is a Polyp?

What Exactly Is a Polyp?

A polyp is a cluster of cells that develop inside the body, such as in the colon. Some polyps can become cancerous (malignant), while others remain benign. Usually, polyps are diagnosed after a routine colonoscopy. Dr. Azeem Kahn of Forest Hills Gastroenterology, New York is a board-certified gastroenterologist who is an expert at diagnosing and treating polyps and performing colonoscopy.

Types of Colon Polyps

The most common types of polyps that can develop in your colon are adenomas.

  • Adenoma: This form of polyp looks like the lining of your colon and can be difficult to distinguish. A biopsy will reveal if the tissue is an adenoma. In some cases, adenomas can become cancerous. Adenoma has three categories of growth pattern: tubular and villous and a combination of the two, which is known as tubulovillous. Typically, an adenoma is around 1/2 inch or smaller. When they become larger, it is often because they are cancerous. Villous adenomas are more likely to be malignant. Regular colonoscopies can prevent polyps from developing cancer.
  • Sessile: When a polyp is described as sessile it means that the tissue has a broad, flattened shape.
  • Serrated: Serrated adenomas have the appearance of a saw blade when examined under the microscope.

Although these types of polyps are non-cancerous, they are pre-cancerous. This means that they can become cancerous at any time.

Symptoms of Colon Polyps

In many cases, polyps do not cause signs and symptoms. When they do, they may include:

  • Bloody stools
  • Black stools
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Pasty skin
  • Fainting

Polyps in the colon are typically diagnosed using colonoscopy, endoscopy, or flexible sigmoidoscopy. They are usually removed using endoscopy, though in some cases, surgery may be necessary.

If you live in New York City and you want to make an appointment for a colonoscopy, call Dr. Khan on New York, (718) 268-0418

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