In the interest of keeping open and honest communication, I’ve decided to share with my readers I’m undergoing a polypectomy today for flat colon polyps. During last year’s colonoscopy, the flat polyps were found by accident. If the technician didn’t go backwards with the little camera she would have never found them. Typically colon polyps are mushroom shaped and non-cancerous. These flat polyps are typically cancerous, however the ones found are small, the size of a pencil eraser.
Another reason I”m sharing is to take the fear and stigma out of colonoscopies and excisions. Colon cancer is the number one killer of middle age men, according to study after study. I was hesitant to get my colonoscopy done last year but was put under for the entire procedure and will be put under again for this procedure. Taking care of yourself is easier in today’s age of healthy foods, exercise, health care, vitamins, supplements and so forth.
So, how did I get polyps? Who knows, but we do know foods, health, exercise and certainly DNA plays a part. My maternal grandfather had three or four cancers that ate away his body and colon cancer was a big one for him. I’m looking forward to getting the procedure over with and hearing from the lab that the polyps are non-cancerous.
According to nbc.com’s news:
The growths tend to be smaller when they are cancerous — the size of a nickel instead of a quarter — and are level with the colon wall or depressed like a pothole. They blend in with the surrounding tissue and are difficult to spot.
“They look like a pancake just lying on the floor,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Roy Soetikno of the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in California.
Doctors have known about flat growths but haven’t recognized their danger, experts said.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Clinic had this to say about polyp excision, which is what my surgeon will do:
Several issues are critical for complete and safe removal of flat lesions and for patients to enjoy the benefits of a non-invasive procedure, while avoiding the risks and costs of surgery.
- Excellent colon preparation is essential: Without it, one may overlook flat lesions. In addition, once a large, flat lesion is seen, it should be removed by endoscopic mucosal resection.
- Patient cooperation is critical: It is important to inject fluid accurately into a 2-3 mm colon wall to lift the lesion. This is technically challenging if the patient is deeply sedated and cannot hold his or her breath for a few seconds when the injection is made. To help with this, the procedure is done with light sedation when needed. Patients have no pain during the injection or removal of polyps.
- Expertise and excellent team work: Several steps are involved during endoscopic mucosal resection; injection of fluid, lifting the lesion, cutting the lesion, cleaning the edges of any residual polyps, cauterizing any bleeding vessels, and closing the defect if necessary success depends on a number of factors, including careful instruction by the endoscopist and the endoscopic technician, anticipating steps and getting them right..
- Excellent gastrointestinal pathologists are essential: Endoscopists should review the pathology specimens with the pathologists to figure out how best to follow the patients.
- Close follow-up of patients: Close follow-up of the patients in the first two to three weeks is critical, because the resection site could cause delayed bleeding or perforation. Patients may be placed on a special diet to avoid loading up the colon with stool and disrupting the resection site.
By the time you read this hopefully i’m home and recuperating!
The GI Dr’s result: there was no polyp, there was nothing to remove. I hope this makes sense. What was seen by colonoscopy must have been a fold of tissue, and not a true polyp. The only abnormality found on exam were some minor hemorrhoids.