Polyps Treatment: What is Missing?

April 2021

Polyps Treatment: What is Missing?

Polyps are not cancerous growths, but should be treated as such. Polyps can be found anywhere in the body but have been most commonly found on the esophagus and colon. Polyps will grow very quickly and many can grow to massive proportions. The problem is that polyps cannot be seen without a scope or medical device that can see internally such as an endoscope.

What are Polyps?

Polyps are not cancerous growths, but should be treated as such. They can commonly be found on the esophagus and colon (the colon's purpose is to remove water, salts and waste from the body). Polyps will grow very quickly and many can grow to massive proportions. Polyps in the colon cancer stage are called adenomas, and those in esophagus stage are called esophageal adenomas. 

A polyp is essentially a tumor (cancer). In a recent study there have been few new techniques that have been tested on the newer and more aggressive polyps in order to eliminate them. The first is a process that involves the body's own immune system. Researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in Buffalo, N.Y., are working on an approach to treat colorectal cancer patients with an experimental vaccine. This vaccine is made of small pieces of DNA that contain antigens commonly found in colorectal cancer tumors, which are injected into the bloodstream and designed to provoke an immune response against the cancer cells. The vaccine is administered twice a week for five weeks, then once every five weeks thereafter for three years.

In this study, researchers have injected the DNA vaccine into colon cancer patients at RPCI, and a similar course of treatment will be used in the future for colon cancer patients outside RPCI. For the first time, this experimental vaccine has been shown to induce immune-mediated rejection of colorectal tumors in mice. In other experiments, RPCI researchers also tested two other approaches to the elimination of polyps: one is a drug currently approved for use in humans called sirolimus (Rapamune); and a procedure that involves surgically removing polyps followed by an injection of a drug to prevent growth of new polyps. The results from these studies will be included in papers published later this year.

There are other treatments for polyps, but surgery is the quickest way to get the job done. Not all polyps need to be removed; some can be monitored or simply treated with medications. It all depends on what they look like and how big they are.

Treatments for polyps include:

1) Surgery: The culprits are cut out of your colon wall and a "stoma" (a hole left in the stomach's lining) is created, which allows waste to flow into a pouch outside of the body. The pouch is connected to the stoma. The stoma allows the waste to be absorbed into a bag and carried out of the body via the anus.

2) Abdominopexy: This surgery involves separating portion of an abscess from inside of a person's digestive tract. It is generally done when there are multiple polyps or cancer cells in a single area.

3) Alcoholics Anonymous: If you are an alcoholic and have this kind of cancer, then go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, as they will be able to help you cope with your urges and manage your everyday life so you can cure your cancer without harming yourself or others.

4) Radiation: This treatment uses special light that kills the cancer cells in the body. This is used for colon cancer and polyps. 

5) CO2 laser: A thin beam of energy is used to remove tumors, which can be done with this type of laser. It is commonly used for early stage cancers that are one to three centimeters and larger tumors less than five centimeters.

6) Surgery: A surgeon might choose this option if a polyp was not completely removed during a colonoscopy or if an individual had not had a colorectal screening in over ten years. The doctor will clip the outside edge of the growth and remove any tissue left behind during the procedure.

Cancer is a growth in the body that can spread to other parts of the body. When polyps first form it is not possible to know if they will turn into cancer or if they will remain as benign polyps but if left untreated strong evidence indicates that most will turn into cancer.

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