Date
26 July 2017
The risk of developing colorectal cancer can be reduced by following a balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. Photo: CNSA
The risk of developing colorectal cancer can be reduced by following a balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. Photo: CNSA

Bowel polyps and colorectal cancer: Why prompt action matters

A two-centimeter polyp was found on the inner lining of the large intestine of a generally healthy man in his fifties.

The polyp was surgically removed. The intervention was timely as the tissue was already cancerous.

Since then, the man has had regular colon check-ups, following doctor’s advice, to monitor any signs of recurrence.

Bowel polyps are small growths on the lining of the colon or rectum and cause no obvious early symptoms.

However, if left untreated, they might grow and cause bleeding, eventually becoming cancerous.

Older people with a family history of the disease, obesity, physically inactivity or poor diet are at higher risk of bowel polyps.

According to data from the United States and Europe, 40 percent of the world population aged between 50 and 60 are affected by polyps. Hong Kong is expected to have a similar figure.

That said, people who belong to the above-mentioned category should take regular colonoscopy and have polyps removed.

Colonoscopy is one of the most common examination methods but if patients opt for a non-invasive procedure with no anaesthesia, they could consider computed tomographic colonography.

However, the accuracy would be compromised in cases of small polyps or if the cleansing colon preparation is not made thoroughly.

In colonoscopy, patients are required to take a low-fiber diet for two to three days and undergo a cleansing colon preparation the night before the examination.

Generally, any polyps found would be removed during the examination.

The removed tissues would be subjected to further analysis.

Patients would require regular check-ups and follow-up sessions in the following one to five years, depending on the number and size of polyps and the laboratory results of the patients.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb. 23.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]

DY/AC/RA

Specialist In General Surgery (In-House) at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Tsuen Wan (HKAH–TW)

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