Clinical Hub,Patient Education,Health and Nutrition Facts For You,Digestive Health Center (DHC)

Colon Polyps (7917)

Colon Polyps (7917) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Digestive Health Center (DHC)


Colon Polyps
This handout explains colon polyps and what you can expect if one is found during your

Polyps are small growths of tissue that can be
seen during a colonoscopy. Finding a polyp
during a procedure is common (30-50% of
adults have them).

Most polyps are benign (non-cancerous) and
can grow without causing any symptoms.
Some polyps have an area of cancer or may
develop into cancer later, which is why they are
removed. Colon cancer almost always begins
as a colon polyp. Polyps can slowly change
into cancer, which why most patients are told to
have a colonoscopy at least every 10 years.

Risk Factors
ξ Over the age of 50
ξ Family history of polyps or colon
ξ Personal history of polyps
ξ Lifestyle: smoking, drinking alcohol,
lack of exercise, overweight, and/or a
diet high in fatty foods/red meats or
processed meats

If a polyp is found
Most polyps can be fully and safely removed
during your colonoscopy. You will not feel
any pain when the polyp is removed. The
polyp will be sent to the lab for testing. Your
doctor will receive the lab results, look at them,
and contact you within 1-2 weeks with the
results. Please call 608-890-5000 if you have
not received your results in 2 weeks.

Next Steps
There are many types of polyps. The type of
polyp(s) that you have helps your doctor decide
when you will need your next colonoscopy. If a
polyp is found it is most common that your
next colonoscopy will be scheduled in 3–5
years; however, this depends on many factors:
ξ The characteristics of the polyp
ξ The number and size of the polyps
ξ The ability to see the colon during the
ξ Was it possible to do a full colonoscopy

Most Common Kinds of Polyps
ξ Hyperplastic
Hyperplastic polyps are often found in
the end of the colon, are usually small
(less than 5mm) and do not have a risk
of turning into cancer. Since it is hard
to tell the difference between a
Hyperplastic polyp and something that
could be cancerous during a
colonoscopy these may be removed and
sent for testing.
ξ Adenoma
Adenomatous polyps account for 2/3’s
of polyps found. These polyps tend to
be larger and have the chance to turn
into cancer. Adenomas are further
studied based on size and how they look
under a microscope.

Your doctor cannot be certain of the type of
polyp just by how it looks, so taking it out is

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have
any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not
medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s health
needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this information. If you
have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 7/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights
reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7917