Abnormal growths of the tissue in the large bowel (colon).

What is a colon polyp?
A colon polyp is an abnormal growth of the tissue in the large bowel (colon).  There are different types of colon polyps and not all have the potential to turn into cancer.  Hyperplastic polyps are generally thought to be harmless. They do not become cancerous.

An adenomatous polyp, or adenoma, is a precancerous polyp and can be distinguished from other types of polyps by a pathologist when tissue samples are examined under a microscope.   These polyps have the potential to turn into cancer.  Removal of adenomatous polyps prevents them from becoming cancerous.

When will another colonoscopy be necessary?
This depends on the size, number, location, and type of polyp(s) removed.  It may also depend if your family history includes family members with a history of colon cancer or colon polyps.  A final recommendation may depend on the type of polyp, as determined by the pathologist, as well as an assessment of other risk factors by your gastroenterologist. The responsibility for scheduling and completing your next colonoscopy is yours.

If you experience a persistent change in bowel habits, bleeding, and/or abdominal pain, colonoscopy may be needed sooner than the recommended follow up. Contact your primary care physician immediately.

We suggest that you keep this patient information sheet to refer to when you are notified of your biopsy/polyp report.  If you have other questions about your risk of colon cancer or your colonoscopy, please feel free to call our office at 612-871-1145.  

Additional Resources:

  1. American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (www.asge.org )
  2. American Gastroenterological Association (www.gastro.org )
  3. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/cancer/screenforlife)
  4. American Cancer Society 1-800-ACS-2345 (www.cancer.org/)