What is the treatment for a cancerous colon polyp?
Since stage 0 colon cancers have not grown beyond the inner lining of the colon, surgery to take out the cancer is often the only treatment needed. In most cases this can be done by removing the polyp or taking out the area with cancer through a colonoscope (local excision).
Is a cancerous polyp a tumor?
Nearly all colon and rectal cancers begin as a polyp, a growth on the inner surface of your colon. Polyps themselves usually aren't cancer.
Can a doctor tell if polyp is cancerous during colonoscopy?
Most polyps aren't cancerous, but some can be precancerous. Polyps removed during colonoscopy are sent to a laboratory for analysis to determine whether they are cancerous, precancerous or noncancerous.
A colon polyp is a small clump of cells that forms on the lining of the colon. Most colon polyps are harmless. But over time, some colon polyps can develop into colon cancer, which may be fatal when found in its later stages.
In most cases, only a polypectomy and/or a local excision is needed to treat this stage of cancer. A polypectomy or local excision involves removing the polyp in its entirety during a colonoscopy. Additional treatment may be needed if a polyp or tumor is too big to be removed through local excision.
That's currently unknown, which is why regular screening is important for everybody. How long does it take a polyp to turn into a cancer? Generally, it's about a 10- to 15-year process, which explains why getting a colonoscopy screening once every 10 years is sufficient for most people.
If a polyp has cancerous cells, they will also biopsy nearby lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has spread or metastasized to other areas of the body. In this case radiation, chemotherapy or other therapies may be recommended. Colonoscopy screenings can be life saving!
The larger the polyp becomes, the bigger the risk of it developing into colon cancer. That risk increases significantly if the polyp is greater than 10 mm (1 cm); research has shown the larger a colon polyp becomes, the more rapidly it grows.
For a polypectomy, the cancer is removed as part of the polyp, which is cut at its base (the part that looks like the stem of a mushroom). This is usually done by passing a wire loop through the colonoscope to cut the polyp off the wall of the colon with an electric current.
The size of the polyp correlates with the development of cancer. Polyps less than 1 centimeter in size have a slightly greater than a 1% chance of becoming cancer, but those 2 centimeters or greater have a 40% chance of transforming into cancer.
In general, sessile or pedunculated polyps more than 2 cm in diameter are considered difficult polyps. Certainly, any polyps greater than 3 cm in diameter, or so-called giant polyps, represent the most challenging polyps.
We know that the majority of colon and rectal cancers develop within polyps that can be easily detected by screening colonoscopy before they become cancerous.
Recovery from a polypectomy usually takes about 2 weeks. Patients may feel pain following the procedure, particularly immediately after the procedure.