Intestinal polyps may be an early symptom of colorectal cancer
Intestinal polyps are wartslike lesions that arise in the colon (large intestine). Such lesions arise from the disordered proliferation of cells of the colon itself. There are several types of lesions that can manifest as polyps, being classified as neoplastic (adenomas) or non-neoplastic (hyperplastic, inflammatory or hamartomas).
Adenomas are considered "pre-cancer" lesions, being possible to detect in the material collected in the biopsy a growing degree of dysplasia (transformation) toward adenocarcinoma, the most common type of colon cancer. In general, the appearance of these lesions precedes the appearance of the malignant lesion in 10 or 15 years.
Most patients with polyps are asymptomatic, that is, they do not present any symptoms, and discover the problem with a screening exam, such as the colonoscopy. The macroscopic appearance of an adenoma is indistinguishable from those non-neoplastic (non-cancerous) polyps, and all those found at a colonoscopy should be removed for examination by a pathologist.
It is possible to prevent
Colorectal cancer fills some criteria that makes it the ideal prototype of cancer that can be prevented by screening tests: the disease has a high incidence, is highly curable if diagnosed early, and has pre-cancerous lesions for a long time until it becomes invasive.
Among the tests which proved to be effective in the screening of colorectal cancer, colonoscopy is useful not only as a diagnostic tool but also as a therapeutic tool, removing polyps in the same procedure. Colonoscopy is recommended from the age of 50 in the general population, and the interval until the next examination varies according to its findings, with 10 years in those with the normal examination.
The importance of early diagnosis is to terminate early the long process that leads to the formation of an invasive tumor from an adenoma or even to make the diagnosis of adenocarcinoma still in its early stages when there is a greater chance of cure.
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