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Welcome to the comprehensive medical library of Dayton Colon Rectal Center, Inc. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

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Understanding Colon and Rectal PolypsLos p³lipos del colon y el recto

Understanding Colon and Rectal Polyps

The colon (also called the large intestine) is a muscular tube that forms the last part of the digestive tract. It absorbs water and stores food waste. The colon is about 4 to 6 feet long. The rectum is the last 6 inches of the colon. The colon and rectum have a smooth lining composed of millions of cells. Changes in these cells can lead to growths in the colon that can become cancerous and should be removed.

The colon has a smooth lining composed of millions of cells.
When the Colon Lining Changes

Changes that occur in the cells that line the colon or rectum can lead to growths called polyps. Over a period of years, polyps can turn cancerous. Removing polyps early may prevent cancer from ever forming.

 

Polyps

Polyps are fleshy clumps of tissue that form on the lining of the colon or rectum. Small polyps are usually benign (not cancerous). However, over time, cells in a polyp can change and become cancerous. The larger a polyp grows, the more likely this is to happen. Also, certain types of polyps known as adenomatous polyps are considered premalignant. This means that they will almost always become cancerous if they're not removed.

Cancer

Almost all colorectal cancers start when polyp cells begin growing abnormally. As a cancerous tumor grows, it may involve more and more of the colon or rectum. In time, cancer can also grow beyond the colon or rectum and spread to nearby organs or to glands called lymph nodes. The cells can also travel to other parts of the body. This is known as metastasis. The earlier a cancerous tumor is removed, the better the chance of preventing its spread.

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2005-02-18T00:00:00-07:00

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I just wanted to say thank you very much for getting me in promptly and taking very good care of me during my hard times. I appreciate your office following up on my care and making sure all the testing, pre-certs were taken care of so it was less stressful for me. I also appreciate all the care and support from every staff member in your office. It really shows how much you guys care about your patients.
Thank you,
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