Colon Polyp Size, Shape, And Growth Pattern Affects Cancer Risk

Those who regularly have a colonoscopy are familiar with the term polyp. They understand that they are small growths on the inside of the colon or rectum. They have several shapes and can be numerous, but having a polyp does not mean you have cancer. However, colon polyp size, shape, and growth pattern affects cancer risk.

couple sitting on the couch smiling and huggingFind Them, Remove Them

The goal of a colonoscopy is to find every single polyp, no matter its size, and remove it. If they are removed, they cannot grow and develop into cancer. That is the reason we have screenings for colon cancer like colonoscopy. You eliminate the risk.

It’s also the reason why a colonoscopy screening is performed every few years depending on the patient’s risk factors. Find them, remove them.

The big question is whether certain polyps are more likely to turn into cancer by their size and shape?

With Colon Polyps, Size Does Matter

The smaller a polyp is, the less likely it will become cancerous. They can grow quite slowly, and that’s the reason why screening tests are so important.

Hyperplastic polyps are small, very common, and are low risk.

Shape Matters Too

Pedunculated polyps hang on stalks. They are easily found and removed, and cancer can grow in the head.

Sessile polyps appear like a dome and are more flat.

Flat polyps are difficult to find and remove.

Adenoma Polyps

There are three types of adenoma polyps:

  • Villous have a high risk of becoming cancerous and are larger than others. They spread out like a fan shape.
  • Tubular are smaller, look like little tubes, and are less likely to become cancerous.
  • Tubulovillous polyps are a mix of villous and tubular.

Serrated Polyps

This type of polyp is difficult to find. They appear like saw teeth under a microscope, and about 25% of these polyps become cancerous.

Inflammatory Polyps

This kind of polyp is common in people who have inflammatory bowel disease, but they are not dangerous. They are also known as pseudopolyps and are a result of the inflammation in the colon.

Talk with our colorectal surgeons about the types and size of the polyps removed during your last colonoscopy. Starting at age 45 everyone should be having regular screenings for colorectal cancer. 

Contact Rochester Colon & Rectal Surgeons at (585) 222-6566 to schedule your colorectal cancer screening in Western New York.