Is a polypectomy insured?

What are intestinal polyps?

Most polyps in the intestine are called adenomas. They arise from the glandular tissue of the intestinal lining and grow slowly. It usually takes several years for a carcinoma to develop. Important to know: the larger and more common the adenomas, the higher the risk of cancer. In addition, the likelihood of tissue degenerating malignantly increases with age.

Colon polyps: no isolated cases

From the age of 50 they can be found in around 30 percent of the population - of which three percent are already malignant. Overall, men are more often affected than women.

No symptoms? No all-clear!

Polyps usually do not cause any symptoms and are usually only discovered during a colonoscopy: Your doctor will recognize the typical fungal or broad-blistered growths of the mucous membrane on the camera images. If these are left untreated, problems arise with increasing size - in addition to a change from diarrhea and constipation, traces of blood or mucus may also appear in the stool, occasionally slight abdominal pain occurs. In extreme cases, polyps cause profuse bleeding or completely block the intestinal cavity: This hinders bowel evacuation and leads to severe pain.

diagnosis

During a colonoscopy, your doctor will specifically look for changes in the intestinal lining - especially polyps. In Germany, all insured men over the age of 50 and all insured women over the age of 55 are entitled to this measure for early detection of colon cancer.

Alternatively, a stool sample will be examined for hidden traces of blood - these could be an indication of polyps.

Family affair Colon cancer?

Colon cancer is more common in some families. This can be caused by rare genetic diseases. Only special genetic tests provide certainty in such cases.

Hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) or Lynch Syndrome: In around five percent of all colon cancer cases, a modified gene ensures that a polyp turns into a malignant tumor very quickly and at a young age.

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP): The rare hereditary disease causes countless polyps in the intestine early on - if left untreated, it almost always results in colon cancer.

In the case of a genetic predisposition to colon cancer, those affected are entitled to control and preventive measures well before the age of 50.

treatment

If your doctor discovers polyps during the colonoscopy, he will usually remove them at the same time. A fine wire loop is used for this so-called polypectomy: the doctor introduces this through the endoscopic tube to the polyp, grasps it and cuts it off precisely with a high-frequency current. For smaller polyps up to five millimeters, he uses biopsy forceps. Particularly gratifying: these interventions are painless.

Polypectomy is a low-risk measure. Your doctor will explain all possible complications to you in detail before the procedure: These include, for example, bleeding when the polyp is removed or an injury to the intestinal wall. The separated tissue is removed and then examined histologically. For example, it can be determined whether cancer cells are already present in the polyp.

This finding determines when the next check-up should take place. The amount and size of the removed polyps also play a role in this decision. Regular checks are important: the intestinal mucosa often tends to grow again.

When is an operation necessary?

Very large or extensive polyps can sometimes not be completely removed in the first step - in such cases a new colonoscopy or surgery is necessary.

Surgical intervention is also necessary if certain malignant cancer cells have been found in the polyp: so-called high-risk cells. During this operation, part of the bowel must be removed.

In the case of a superficial tumor, on the other hand, it may be sufficient to remove only the polyp itself. Important: This must be followed by regular check-ups.

causes

People in Western Europe and the United States are particularly likely to have colon polyps compared to those in other parts of the world. Experts therefore suspect a connection between Western diet and the disease: A high fat content and too little fiber promote the growths as well as alcohol and tobacco consumption. Obesity and lack of exercise are also typical risk factors.

Live a healthy intestinal tract - prevent polyps

  • Rely on a balanced, low-fat, high-fiber diet.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation and avoid nicotine.
  • Integrate exercise into your everyday life and exercise regularly.
  • Take all recommended