Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are two different kinds of polyps related?"
Had some nasal polyps a few years back, which were removed with surgery. A friend said that I should be worried about colon polyps if I had nasal polyps. Is this true? Are polyps in two different parts of the body related?
Absolutely not! Colon polyps and nasal polyps are two totally unrelated processes. Nasal polyps occur most often in the setting of chronic sinus infections or congestion or chronic nasal allergies, and they are essential a reaction of the lining of the nose to the chronic inflammation. They are treated either by getting the infections and allergies under control or, if that doesn't work, by surgical removal as in your case. Nasal polyps are always benign and never turn into cancer. Colon polyps, on the other hand, commonly occur in the colon with aging. Looking for colon polyps is the main reasons that primary care doctors arrange colonoscopies in older adults. It is important to look for and identify colon polyps because, quite frequently, they can actually be on the way to developing cancer. If you detect polyps early, as you can do with a colonoscopy, they can be removed before the develop into cancer. Colonoscopies for looking for colon polyps are a routine part of a physical checkup in adults who are older than 50 years of age. Screening may start earlier if you have a family history of colon cancer, but your primary care doctor will be able to help you sort this out.
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