Tweet Q: My 65-year-old husband just had a colonoscopy, and his doctor said it was incomplete because his colon was very long. She removed two small polyps that were precancerous. Now she wants to do a barium enema. Where in the intestine are most polyps found? Casey, Idaho A: Polyps can occur at any location in the large colon. The distribution of polyps tends to vary, however, based on polyp size and the age of individual. For example about half of all polyps are found in the lower portion of the colon, or the rectosigmoid region. Older patients tend to have more polyps in the right side of colon than the left, and typically, larger polyps are founds in the right colon. Despite this, the entire length of the colon needs to be evaluated for presence of polyps. For more information about colon cancer, visit the Everyday Health Colon Cancer Center . Find out what a colonoscopy and other colorectal cancer screening tests are like. Last Updated: 07/27/2009 Colon cancer expert Dr. Saeed Sadeghi is a staff physician and an assistant clinical professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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More Info Colon polyps are growths of tissue inside the large intestine, also called the colon. Some polyps are mushroom-shaped protrusions on the end of a stalk. Others appear as bumps that lie flat against the intestinal wall. There are several types of polyps. Most are noncancerous (benign), but one type, the adenomatous polyp, is associated with changes (called mutations) in the DNA of the lining of the colon. These mutations can progress into colon cancer. The larger the polyp, the greater the chance that it contains cancerous cells. For a polyp larger than 1 inch in diameter, there is a 10% chance it is cancerous. Some people are born with a genetic tendency to develop multiple polyps. Inherited conditions such as familial adenomatous polyposis and Gardner’s syndrome can cause hundreds of polyps to grow in the colon and rectum. Without surgery to remove the affected section of the intestine, it is almost certain that at least one of these polyps will turn into cancer by middle age. These two conditions are rare. Symptoms Many times, people are not aware they have colon polyps because there are no symptoms. Larger growths can bleed, causing blood in the stool.
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Diet to Prevent Colon Polyps
Some polyps are benign, but certain types can turn into cancer. Anyone can develop colon polyps but certain groups are more likely to develop them than others. Adults 50 years or older and those who’ve had polyps before are at an increased risk. Your risk also increases if you eat a lot of high-fat foods, smoke, drink alcohol, are overweight or lead a sedentary lifestyle, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. You Might Also Like Stages of Colon Fiber Fiber is the indigestible portion of plants, and although your body doesn’t absorb fiber, it does play an important role in digestive wellness and helps maintain bowel health. You get two kinds of fiber from your diet, soluble and insoluble. Most plants contain a mixture of both fibers, with some being higher in one type compared to the other. Soluble Fiber absorbs water from your intestines and forms a gel. It plays a role in promoting healthy cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve it water, it adds bulk to stools and is most commonly linked to bowel health. High-Fiber Foods It’s recommended that you aim to get at least 20 to 30 grams of total fiber daily to help prevent colon polyps. There is no specific recommendation for insoluble fiber since plants contain both types of fiber. Foods particularly high in insoluble fiber include kale, green beans, okra, peas, sweet potato, turnip, carrots, apples, apricots, kiwi, oranges, mango and variety of beans and legumes.