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Colon Polyps

For colon polyps: nip it in the bud, nip it in the butt, or nix it in the bud?

Thank goodness for crowdsource clarification via the internet: 

Is it “nip it in the bud” or “nip it in the butt”  or “nix it in the bud” ? 

Well, when it comes to colon polyps, any of the above idioms are applicable. 

Nip it in the bud

Colon polyps are tiny growths that form on the inside lining of the colon. They are quite common, as roughly one third to one half of all adults have them by the time they are 50 years old. Most people may not be aware of the presence of polyps in their colon as they usually do not cause symptoms. Sometimes, colon polyps are found during evaluation for abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, or change in the bowel habits that lasts longer than a week.

Colon polyps come in two varieties: non-neoplastic, harmless bud duds and neoplastic, cancerous bud bombs. Most colonic polyps are harmless. But some polyps (such as adenomas and serrated polyps) can become cancerous. Two thirds of polyps are adenomas with approximately 5% of adenomas progressing to cancer over 7 to 10 years. Given the potential for cancer, it’s a good idea to nip the polyp in the bud before it transforms into cancer.

Nip it in the butt

To be clear, colon polyps rarely pop out of the butt. To access polyps, however, the doctor would need to advance the instrument through the anus. Sometimes, the screening process may begin with a stool test to check for blood or abnormal genes in the sample of stool. Alternatively, a virtual colonoscopy using a CT scan to view the colon may be performed to look for polyps. But if the stool test is abnormal, polyps are found on virtual colonoscopy, or if the patient is 50 years of age or older, there should be a flexible sigmoidoscopy, or more appropriately, colonoscopy up the butt. Advanced through the anus and beyond, the colonoscopy is the most sensitive test for colorectal polyps and cancer. If polyps are found during colonoscopy, the doctor can nip it. 

Nix it in the bud

During colonoscopy, the doctor can remove polyps with forceps or a wire loop (polypectomy). Polyps that are too large or that can’t be safely removed during colonoscopy will require minimally invasive surgery. Rare inherited syndrome with many potentially cancerous polyps may need removal of the colon and rectum. 

Stop polyps from transforming into cancer. Nix it in the bud.


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