Types of Colon Polyps: Risk for Colon Cancer


Polyps are defined as abnormal growths of the mucus membranes. It can occur anywhere in the body. Colon polyps grow on the lining of the large intestine. There are several causes of this condition including heredity, disease, ulcerative colitis or abnormal cell growth. This condition can cause several symptoms like fatigue, abdominal pain/cramping and bloody stools. Polyps can be cancerous (malignant) or not cancerous (benign). Here are the types of colon polyps.

Pedunculated Polyp

Types of Colon Polyps: Risk for Colon Cancer

This type of polyp is when it is attached to the mucous membrane and has a narrow stalk of tissue. This is one of the most common types of colon polyps.

Sessile Polyp

When there is no stalk of tissue present and the polyp grows right on the mucous membrane, it is called sessile. This is also a common type of colon polyp.

Adenomatous Polyps

This kind of polyp develops in the colon’s lining. It is usually caused by DNA changes. According to a recent research conducted by the College of American Pathologists, about 10% of adenomatous polyps become cancerous within 10 years if not discovered early and surgically removed. When there are multiple polyps, the chance that it will become cancerous increases. This type of polyp can be divided into three sub-types namely tubular, tubulovillous and villous.

Tubular Adenomatous Polyps

This type of colon polyp can either be sessile or pedunculated. Among the types of adenomatous polyps, this is the most common type. It can be found in any part of the colon.

Tubulovillous Adenomatous Polyps

This type of polyp is usually found in the distal part of the colon and rectum. There is a greater chance of malignancy when there is a higher amount of villous component.

Villous Adenomatous Polyps

This colon polyp usually develops in the rectum. However, it can occur in other areas of the colon. They are generally described as large, non-pedunculated and appear like a cauliflower. This is considered the worst type of polyp since it is connected to higher morbidity and mortality.

Inflammatory Polyps

This polyp usually occurs after a bout of ulcerative colitis or when the patient has Crohn’s disease. These polyps usually don’t cause problems. However, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are considered as risk factors for colon cancer.

Polyps from Polyposis Syndromes

This type of colon polyp usually becomes cancerous. It is often found in cases wherein the patient has family history of colon polyps. It can occur in younger patients and may occur in large numbers.

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