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Colonic polyps are abnormal growths arising from the inner lining of the large intestine. If not treated, most polyps eventually turn into cancer.

Unfortunately, most polyps do not present with any symptoms. Some large polyps can cause bleeding, mucous discharge or diarrhoea. Rarely, the polyp is so large that it causes blockage of the intestine. Most polyps are detected only by special tests such as colonoscopy, barium enema or CT colonography.

Because colon polyps are largely asymptomatic, most patients will not be aware that they have polyps. Screening is therefore advised. Tests such as colonoscopy, barium enema or CT colonography will be able to detect polyps.

Colonic polyps can be removed via colonoscopy. The procedure is called a polypectomy. If the polyp is too large, surgery, or a combination of surgery and colonoscopy can be performed to remove the polyp. Polyp removal is important, as this can prevent development of colorectal cancer.

 

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