What Are Colon Polyps and Why Should They Be Removed?

What Are Colon Polyps and Why Should They Be Removed?

Although most colon polyps aren’t malignant (cancerous), some types can develop into cancer over time. Most notably, all colorectal cancer starts as a polyp

Like any cancer, colorectal cancer is best treated in its earliest stages, before the cancer cells have time to grow and spread.

Additionally, depending on the number, size, and location, even benign (noncancerous) polyps can create serious health complications if left untreated.

Board-certified gastroenterologist Dr. Prem Chattoo and his team at Hudson River Gastroenterology have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating digestive ailments such as Crohn’s, acid reflux (heartburn), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Dr. Chatto is also a strong advocate for screening colonoscopy, which allows him to identify and remove polyps that may increase your risk of colorectal cancer.

Read more from our team about colon polyps and why they should be removed.

Understanding colon polyps

Colon polyps are small clumps of cells that form into a growth on the lining of the colon or rectum. They vary in size, shape, number, and type.

Types of colon polyps include adenomatous polyps (potentially precancerous), hyperplastic polyps (noncancerous), and inflammatory polyps (typically noncancerous).

Adenomatous polyps, in particular, have the potential to develop into colorectal cancer over time. However, other types of polyps can cause health complications such as obstruction if allowed to grow.

Benefits of removing colon polyps

The benefits of removing colon polyps include:

Reducing cancer risk

Adenomatous polyps have the potential to become cancerous if left untreated. Regular screening and removal of polyps can help prevent the development of colorectal cancer, which is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide.

Preventing other health complications

While colon polyps themselves are generally benign growths on the inner lining of the colon, they can lead to complications such as:


Some polyps can bleed, especially if they’re large or located on the surface of the colon lining. This can lead to blood in the stool, which may be visible or detected through tests.


Chronic bleeding from polyps can lead to a decrease in red blood cells, causing anemia. Anemia can result in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.


Large polyps or a cluster of smaller polyps can obstruct the colon, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.

Changes in bowel habits

Polyps can sometimes cause changes in bowel habits, including constipation or diarrhea, especially if they’re causing partial obstruction of the colon.


While less common, large polyps or clusters can lead to intussusception. This condition causes one portion of the intestine to telescope into another, resulting in a blockage that may become life-threatening.

Regular screenings and appropriate medical management are crucial to preventing complications and addressing any potential concerns associated with colon polyps.

Preventing health complications with colonoscopy

Regular screening for colon abnormalities, including polyps, is important for early cancer detection and prevention, particularly among individuals over the age of 45 or those with a family history of colorectal cancer.

A screening colonoscopy allows Dr. Chattoo to visualize the colon and rectum and identify abnormalities. Additionally, a screening colonoscopy serves a dual function since most polyps are removable during colonoscopy. Removing these abnormal growths early also helps prevent other health complications related to polyps.

For peace of mind regarding your colon health, schedule a visit with Dr. Chattoo at Hudson River Gastroenterology today. Call the office or request an appointment online.

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