In the UK, screening for colon cancer is offered by the National Health Service from age 60 to 69. The new study points to a need for screening that specifically targets obese people, said Dr. Joseph Anderson from Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire, who was not involved in the study. There are different ways to screen people, and if a person is obese, they are at higher risk and should have a full colonoscopy, he added. A partial colonoscopy, also known as sigmoidoscopy, uses a flexible tube to look at the rectum and lower part of the colon, making it less invasive and uncomfortable than a full colonoscopy procedure. Obese people tend to have adenomas in the upper part of the colon, and sigmoidoscopy doesn’t reach that far, said Anderson, who has written an editorial on this study for a forthcoming issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology. But Dr. Michael Leitzman, who has researched obesity and adenomas, urges caution. BMI didn’t seem to be linked to faster development of cancer once colon polyps were present, so changing screening practices doesn’t seem to be necessary, said Leitzman, from University Hospital Regensburg in Germany. Still, both Anderson and Leitzman agreed that the study had combined the best of previous research on obesity and colon polyps, and strengthened evidence of the link between obesity and colon cancer. Anderson did, however, note that the study didn’t account for diabetes as a potentially confounding factor. Because of such uncertainties, the data can’t prove that losing weight reduces the risk of developing polyps, or reverses the progression of cancer development. But erring on the side of caution and shedding excess weight is a good idea no matter what, said Anderson.
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Colon Polyps – Topic Overview
Polyps that may progress to cancer can be safely removed during this procedure. Posted by Stephen Allen Christensen | Last updated: Nov 20, 2013 Intestinal polyps are masses of tissue that arise from the bowel wall and protrude into the bowel cavity. Polyps may be flat and wart-like, or they may be elongated and fingerlike. They vary greatly in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters in length. Polyps that occur in the colon may carry the risk of malignant transformationthat is, they may become cancerous. Colon polyps occur most often in the rectum and lower colon and decrease in frequency toward the cecum. (The Merck Manual, 18th Edition 2006:173-74) Incidence and mortality rates for colon cancer have been decreasing steadily for over a decade, most likely due to the increase in screening colonoscopies and the removal of polyps during these procedures. Current guidelines recommend that otherwise healthy people begin screening for colon cancer at age 50. Although many people neglect this opportunity to detect cancer at an early stage, many others are undergoing screening colonoscopy at the advice of their physicians. Because it is not uncommon to discover polyps during screening examinations, and since different types of polyps confer differing levels of cancer riskand possibly because instructions for followup are often conveyed when patients have not fully recovered from sedationmany people are confused about the results of their screenings. A basic understanding of how polyps behave and the guidelines for reexamination will help to clarify when an individual should plan to return to his/her physician. Types of Colon Polyps Adenomatous (neoplastic) polyps: These polyps are of greatest concern, as they are most likely to change from benign to malignant. This process apparently occurs over seven to fifteen years, although it is likely that many adenomatous polyps regress and never become cancerous.
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They are usually found during routine screening tests for colon cancer. A screening test looks for signs of a disease when there are no symptoms. If polyps get large, they can cause symptoms. You may have bleeding from your rectum or a change in your bowel habits. A change in bowel habits includes diarrhea , constipation , going to the bathroom more often or less often than usual, or a change in the way your stool looks. How are colon polyps diagnosed? Most polyps are found during tests for colon cancer. Experts recommend routine colon cancer testing for everyone age 50 and older who has a normal risk for colon cancer. People with a higher risk, such as African Americans and people with a strong family history of colon cancer, may need to be tested sooner. The tests for colon cancer are: Stool tests . In a fecal occult blood test ( FOBT ), a fecal immunochemical test (FIT), and a stool DNA test (sDNA), stool samples are checked for signs of cancer. Colonoscopy . In this test, the doctor inserts a small viewing tube all the way into your colon and looks for polyps.