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How dangerous is a sigmoid colon polyp?

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The majority of sigmoid colon polyps are benign, but since there is a link between polyps and cancer, it is recommended that polyps be removed, according to the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS). Polyps are so common that they occur in 15 to 20 percent of adults.

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Most polyps are simple to remove, the ASCRS states. Depending on the equipment used in a colonoscopy, the doctor can remove polyps on the spot by either electric current or cutting them out with a wire loop. Large polyps sometimes require more than one treatment to be removed, or the doctor can elect to remove them surgically. Doctors cannot predict which polyps may become malignant, so removal is considered the best option.

Although polyps recurring in the same place is rare, 30 percent of patients who have had polyps in the past develop new ones, reports the ASCRS. Doctors recommend that these patients have routine colonoscopies to identify any new polyp growth.

Most polyps are found during colonoscopies in the rectum, left colon or the sigmoid colon, notes ASCRS. Patients usually have no symptoms. Sometimes polyps bleed, produce mucus or affect bowel function. Some polyps appear to be flat, while others grow on a stalk.

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