Removal of a malignant bowel polyp
I have had a cancerous (malignant) bowel polyp removed and have been told there is no sign of cancer cells in the bowel wall. Should I have my colon removed?
A polyp is a mushroom shaped growth that can be non cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). If a polyp has been completely removed there is no need to take away any more of the bowel. If the abnormal cells present are completely within the polyp and have not started to spread into (invade) the bowel wall, removing the polyp should be enough treatment.
When polyps are removed, the surgeon takes away the piece of bowel wall they are attached to. This piece of tissue is sent to the laboratory and closely examined for cancer cells. Sometimes the polyp will turn out to be an early bowel cancer that has started to grow into the wall of the bowel. In this case, the specialist will probably recommend more surgery to remove some of the bowel around the area of the tumour.
As you have been told that there are no signs of cancer cells in the bowel wall, you don't need to have further surgery. If you are still worried, you could talk this over again with your specialist. After removal of bowel polyps, doctors usually recommend regular checks of the bowel lining with colonoscopy. This may help to reassure you. How often you have colonoscopy depends on the number of polyps removed and how abnormal the cells looked under the microscope.
If you still find yourself worrying after all your questions have been answered, you might want to think about a short course of counselling. Talking to a counsellor can help people to come to terms with what has happened.
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