Q. My 68 year old mom consulted a doctor after experiencing abdominal pain and constipation. After a visual colonoscopy, colonic polyps were detected. The doctor recommends removal of the polyps. What causes polyps to form? If the polyps are removed, does that mean she is cured?
A. Colonic polyps result from abnormal tissue growth. However, the exact cause is unknown. Certain factors like genetics, diet and lifestyle can increase the risk of developing colonic polyps. This includes a family history of polyps or colon cancer, high fat diet or low in fruits and vegetables, cigarette smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity.
Removing colonic polyps can reduce or eliminate related symptoms. Colonic polyps have the potential to turn into cancer. Hence, removing them can also prevent colon cancer from forming or developing in the future. In addition, having colonic polyps can increase the risk of developing more polyps in the future. Follow-up screening is recommended.