Polyps are formed when cell growth becomes abnormal, producing more new cells than needed in your large intestine. Most colon polyps are not cancerous, though they may become malignant.
Roughly 150,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer every year, resulting in approximately 60,000 deaths.
According to Colon Cancer Resource, there are four types of colon polyps. Inflammatory polyps are normally benign and present in patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. Hyperplastic polyps are found in the lower rectum with a low probability of becoming cancerous.
Seventy percent of all polyps removed are tubular adenoma polyps with increased risks of being cancerous as they grow larger. Villous adenoma polyps attach to the colon walls instead of the stalk and are the highest risk of being cancerous.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you should consult your doctor if you have abdominal pain, blood in your stool or changes in your bowel habits that last longer than a week.
To diagnose colon polyps, your doctor may complete a sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, colonography or X-rays.
To reduce your chances of polyps, add more fiber, calcium and folic acid to your diet. If you are over 50, had polyps in the past or have a family history of them, you should get tested on a regular basis to better your odds of early detection.