What Is a Colonic Adenoma?

Meshell Powell

A colonic adenoma is the most common type of colon polyp and is usually non-cancerous in nature. Even though most of these abnormal growths are benign, as they grow larger, so does the likelihood of a malignancy developing. For this reason, a colonic adenoma is often surgically removed once it has been diagnosed. In most cases, colon polyps do not cause any noticeable symptoms and are found during routine testing, making it vitally important to have any screening tests recommended by a doctor based on age and risk factors. Any questions or concerns about a colonic adenoma or the most appropriate treatment method for an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Usually non-cancerous, a colonic adenoma is the most common type of colon polyp.
Usually non-cancerous, a colonic adenoma is the most common type of colon polyp.

Up to half of all people will develop some form of colon polyp, and as many as 75 percent of these polyps are diagnosed as a colonic adenoma. By definition, an adenoma is a tumor that is made up of epithelial tissue and forms gland-like tissue within the tumor. These polyps often take several years to grow large enough to cause any serious health complications.

A special type of diagnostic test known as a colonoscopy is the most accurate way to diagnose a colonic adenoma. A mild sedative and sometimes pain medications are given to the patient to promote relaxation. Deeper sedation is rarely needed, depending on the overall health of the patient. A long, flexible tube fitted with a small camera is then placed into the rectum to allow the doctor to closely examine the colon.

If a colonic adenoma is found during the colonoscopy, the doctor can usually remove the growth during the procedure. A small sample of tissue from the polyp is then sent to an outside laboratory for further testing. These additional tests will verify the diagnosis and confirm whether the polyp contains any cancerous tissue. In some cases, instead of removing the entire polyp, only a small portion is removed in a procedure known as a biopsy. Additional surgery or other methods of treatment may be scheduled depending on the test results from the biopsy.

It is important to note that a colonoscopy is a relatively painless procedure and the most successful way to prevent colon cancer from developing. A colonic adenoma will take several years to turn cancerous, although many of these tumors never become malignant. By undergoing the proper testing as directed by the doctor and having any polyps removed as they are found, the patient can significantly reduce the chances of ever developing the potentially fatal disease known as colon cancer.

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