Colon polyps 
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 Colon polyps

My dad has just been told by his doctor that he has a large (size of a
golfball) colon polyp.  His annual physical showed a mild anemia, and
{*filter*} was detected in a stool sample, and he went to outpatient surgery
where (I'm not sure of the name of the procedure), they used some type of
scope to look into the colon and bowel.  There they located this polyp,
and based on what the doctor said, all of it could not be removed by a
laser because it did not sit on a stalk like most polyps, but the base was
firmly attached to the wall of the bowel, and laser removal might blast a
hole into the colon.  The biopsy showed precancerous cells, (not yet
cancer, is how the doc explained it, but could become cancer if left
untreated) which of course left no recourse but for him to schedule
surgery (through the abdomen) to have this polyp removed.

My question is how serious is this kind of surgery, and once this polyp is
removed, what are the chances that no more polyps will appear??  What
causes these polyps to begin with?  My dad is 65 years old, in very good
health, other than being quite a bit overweight (he has quite a belly on
him), which the doctor said should be the only complication because of the
depth of the incision, as far as discomfort, post surgical infection, etc.
 They estimate a hospital stay of 5-6 days.

Anyone who has any comments or information on this type of problem, please
contact me.  Is there any kind of preventive nutrition or medication or
change of lifestyle that can minimize the risks of this reoocurring?  I am
significantly worried about this (primarily because Dad "forgot" to
mention to me the precancerous cells, I only heard this from his doc after
calling him to ask some questions).  Thank you in advance for all your


Mon, 06 Jan 1997 08:18:05 GMT
 Colon polyps
The likelyhood is that he will be cured of the polyp and cancer.
He probably has what is known as carcinoma in situ.  This is to
be expected in a polyp the sixe he had.  Going for a surgical
resection rather than a bold and risky colonoscopic removal (taking
the thing out through the scope) is a sign of good judgement by
your dad's docs.  I would expect a longer convalexcence in the
hospital than just 5 or 6 days if there is as much of your dad
as you lead me to believe, and I agree that the wound infection
risk is the thing that is higher than usual for your dad.
After the thing is out, the key to predicting how he will do
is the pathology evaluation.  This will take 3 days or so.
The pathologist will look at slices cut through the tumor to
see if all of the polyp is out, and to be sure that there was
no spread into the lymph nodes that drain the intestine that
harbored the tumor.

Best of luck to your dad!

Stephen Holland, M.D.

Mon, 06 Jan 1997 06:25:02 GMT
 Colon polyps


> My question is how serious is this kind of surgery, and once this polyp is
> removed, what are the chances that no more polyps will appear??  What
> causes these polyps to begin with?  

In people who've had a single polyp removed, the rate of recurrence is
about 3-4% per year.  After 10 years, about 40% will have had a

In people who've had several polyps removed at once, the rate doubles -
so 70% or so will have had a recurrence after 10 years.

Greg Froehlich, MD
White River Junction, VT
PLEASE NOTE:  The advice and suggestions given here are not to be
construed as medical treatment. Information is being provided only for
educational purposes. Consultation with your own physician is

Tue, 07 Jan 1997 03:41:37 GMT
 Colon polyps

How about other cases in your family?
My first advice is: consider testing yourself! Here is my families story:

Some twenty years ago a beginning tumor was removed from my grandfathers (my
mothers father) colon when he was about 65. He had never any problem after
that. He noticed the tumor because it partly blocked his colon.
Two years ago, a sister of my mother had some polyps that were starting to
grow into the lining of the colon, and they were removed by surgery. She
found out that she had those polyps by small traces of {*filter*} in her stool.
One year ago, a second sister had some pain in her stomach, and it turned
out that she had a large tumor in her colon which had grown into the liver
as well. They tried to operate, but they found that it had spread all over
allready. She died half a year later. The tumor was in a place where it
didn't cause her any trouble, so she didn't notice it in time. She was 63
years old.
This familyhistory was reason for my aunts physician to start a family
screening. This screening is indicated when one person in your generation,
and one person in the previous generation have had pre-cancerous polyps.
They first tested the siblings of that aunt, including my mother, and her
children. The test meant a coloscopy: taking a look with a flexible tube,
and to remove any polyps for testing (they can also be harmless connective
tissue). My mother was found to have some very small polyps, of the wrong
kind. They will be removed later this year through coloscopy.
The doctor then advised her to have her children tested as well, and I had a
coloscopy last april. I am 29, and they advise testing in those cases from
the age of 25 (but this depends on which doctor you ask). They found one
polyp, removed it and analysed it, and it was a polyp that could have grown
into a tumor in about 10 to 15 years. It is not certain that it would have
become a tumor, changes are estimated from 5 to 60%.
It was at a place where I probably would not have noticed it in time, and
I was shocked to realise that I could have had serious trouble at 40!
I will have another screening in a few years, and depending on what they
find then, every 2-5 years again. With this frequent screening, I probably
never will have time to develop anything serious. The coloscopy itself was
not too bad, and you don't feel anything when they remove the polyp. And I
had a nice doctor who took the time to show me my appendix! You can watch
your own colon on a TV screen :)
The point is, that it is relatively easy to prevent, and if you have any
indication that it runs in your family, you should consider screening every
10 years or so.
There is no real consensus yet about who should be tested, and how often. My
aunts doctor is a strong supporter of testing everybody, and in my case I'm
glad he is!

My doctor didn't give me any advice about eating habits etc., but I read a
book which advised the following (which is actually everyones advise for
healthy eating :)
-high fiber
-low fat
Well, it won't hurt trying.....

The book I mentioned gives a reasonably good desription of family risks,
facts about polyps and cancer, screening and treatment.
It is part of a series called 'If it runs in your family'
Title: 'Colorectal Cancer'
Subtitle:' Reducing your risk'
Authors: Norman Sohn, M.D., and Scott Corngold
Published in 1992 by Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-35173-7

I hope this information is useful for you. Both my aunt and my grandfather
had no real problems with the surgery, although it is a serious operation
and one needs time to recover.

Roos Eisma       | Wise men talk because they have something to say,|


Tue, 07 Jan 1997 03:29:09 GMT
 [ 4 post ] 

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