Colon polyps are common and important to detect

Written by Community Health Network on 10/28/2013 7:21:00 PM

Central Indiana woman, Tami Schwenk, will undergo a LIVE colonoscopy on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 11 am EST. A Q/A session is included with a Community colon cancer specialist. To watch, visit

By the age of 60, a third of men and women will have at least one polyp (growth) in their colon. If you have one polyp you are more likely to have additional polyps elsewhere in the colon or form new polyps at a later time. Less will have a genetic inherited abnormality that causes a large number of polyps to develop and this group is at higher risk for having cancerous polyps. That is why sharing a family history of cancer and intestinal problems is so important.

There are different types of polyps and the presence of polyps causes other digestive problems besides cancer. A benign polyp can become cancerous. If the cells of the polyp begin to divide and reproduce uncontrollably, a larger polyp can develop on the lining of the colon and in some cases invade deeper into the call of the colon and in other cases cells break off and spread into the lymph. When the cancerous cells spread throughout the body this process is called metastatsis.

Microscopic observation of benign polyp tissue transitioning to low-grade dysplasia (or an abnormal cell formation) to becoming malignant (cancerous) is used to diagnose colorectal cancer. The colonoscopy procedure enables the physician to observe the colon and remove suspicious polyps.   

Colonoscopy also can detect high-grade dysplasia because these cells are clearly cancerous and are usually located on the innermost lining of the colon. Timely removal of these malignant polyps prevents cancer cells from moving throughout the body.  (Source:

Appointments available!

To make an appointment with an MD Anderson Cancer Network® certified physician at Community, call 800-777-7775 today!

Meet our nurse navigators

When it comes to your fight against cancer, they've got your back. Our nurse navigators act as a guide, resource, advocate and educator for newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families. Learn more here.