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Colonic Neoplasm

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Last updated July 1, 2023

Colonic neoplasm quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your colonic neoplasm.

Colonic neoplasm quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your colonic neoplasm.

Take colonic neoplasm quiz

What is a colonic neoplasm?

Colonic neoplasm is when new tissue grows in the colon, or large intestine. It can grow into polyps, which begin as benign (not cancerous) growths, but can sometimes develop into cancer over time. Many neoplasms and polyps are first discovered during a routine colonoscopy.

What are the different types of colonic neoplasm?

Colonic neoplasms are abnormal growths or tumors that develop in the colon or rectum. There are several types of colonic neoplasms, including:

  • Adenomatous polyps: These are noncancerous growths that can develop into cancer over time if not removed.
  • Benign tumors: These are abnormal growths that do not spread to other parts of the body and are not cancerous, such as adenomas, hyperplastic polyps, and inflammatory polyps.
  • Malignant tumors: These are cancerous growths that can invade surrounding tissues and spread to other parts of the body, such as adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinoma, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
  • Neuroendocrine tumors: These rare tumors develop from cells in the nervous and endocrine systems and can be benign or malignant.
  • Lymphomas: These are cancers that develop in the lymphatic system and can affect the colon as well.

Early detection and proper treatment are crucial for successful management of colonic neoplasms. Regular screening and colonoscopies can help identify and remove precancerous polyps before they develop into cancer.

What are the symptoms of colonic neoplasm?

The symptoms of colonic neoplasm can vary depending on the size and location of the tumor, as well as the severity of the condition. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  1. Rectal bleeding: Bleeding from the rectum can occur during early stages of colonic neoplasm. It may appear as bright red blood on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl.
  2. Stools with blood: Blood in the stool can indicate bleeding from the colon. The blood may appear bright red or dark brown.
  3. Changes in bowel habits: Constipation, diarrhea, or a change in the consistency of the stool can occur due to colonic neoplasm.
  4. Abdominal pain, cramps, or discomfort: Mild to severe pain or discomfort in the abdomen can be a symptom of colonic neoplasm. The pain may be constant or intermittent.
  5. Nausea and vomiting: Nausea and vomiting can occur due to colonic neoplasm, especially if the tumor is obstructing the colon.
  6. Loss of appetite: Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly can be a sign of colonic neoplasm.
  7. Weight loss: Unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of colonic neoplasm.
  8. Fatigue: Fatigue and weakness can occur due to colonic neoplasm, especially if the tumor is affecting the functioning of the colon.

What are the risk factors for colonic neoplasm?

The risk factors for colonic neoplasm include age, family history, lifestyle factors, chronic inflammation, inactivity, and race. Let's take a deeper dive into each component:

  1. Age: The risk of colon cancer increases with age, with most cases occurring in people over the age of 50.
  2. Family History: Having a family history of colon cancer, polyps, or Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer) increases the risk of developing colon cancer.
  3. Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle factors, such as a diet high in red and processed meat and foods, low in fiber, and high in saturated fats, can increase the risk of colon cancer. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and lack of physical activity can also increase the risk.
  4. Chronic Inflammation: Chronic inflammation in the digestive tract can increase the risk of colon cancer. This can be caused by conditions like ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, or chronic constipation.
  5. Obesity: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of colon cancer, particularly in people who consume a high-fat, low-fiber diet.
  6. Inactivity: Lack of physical activity can increase the risk of colon cancer, as well as other chronic diseases.
  7. Race: Colon cancer is more common in certain racial and ethnic groups, including African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews.

It is essential to be aware of these risk factors and take steps to reduce the risk of colonic neoplasm. Regular screenings, a healthy diet, physical activity, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can all contribute to reducing the risk.


Treatment options for colonic neoplasms vary depending on the type of tumor, its stage, and the patient's overall health. Some common treatments include:

  • Polypectomy: Removal of the tumor or polyp during a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy procedure instead of just doing a biopsy (taking a sample). This is usually done for benign tumors or early-stage adenomas with signs of dysplasia (abnormality). This prevents the lesion from turning into cancer by acquiring more mutations in its genes. They will also send them to a lab to test them. The results will determine how closely patients have to follow up with another colonoscopy or surgery.
  • Colon resection (colectomy): Surgery to remove the tumor or mass and a portion of the colon. This is often done for larger tumors or cancer that has spread to the surrounding tissue.
  • Chemotherapy: Use of medications to kill cancer cells and stop their growth. This may be used for advanced cancers or in combination with other treatments.
  • Radiation therapy: Use of high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. This may be used in certain cases, such as when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
  • Immunotherapy: Treatment that uses the body's immune system to fight cancer. This is a newer form of treatment that is being studied for use in colon cancer.
  • Clinical trials: Participation in research studies looking for evidence for new treatments and therapies for cancer care.

What is the prognosis for colonic neoplasm?

The prognosis for colonic neoplasm can vary depending on the stage and severity of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. In general, the earlier colon cancer is detected and treated, the better the prognosis.

  • Stage I: In the earliest stage of colon cancer, the cancer is confined to the mucosa (inner lining) of the colon or rectum and has not spread to the lymph nodes. Studies show that the five-year survival rate for stage I colon cancer is about 90%.
  • Stage II: In stage II colon cancer, the cancer has spread to the submucosa (layer of tissue just beneath the mucosa) but has not reached the muscle wall of the colon or rectum. The five-year survival rate for stage II colon cancer is about 70%.
  • Stage III: In stage III colon cancer, the cancer has spread to the muscle wall of the colon or rectum, but has not spread to the lymph nodes. The five-year survival rate for stage III colon cancer is about 50%.
  • Stage IV: In stage IV colon cancer, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, distant organs, or other parts of the body. The five-year survival rate for stage IV colon cancer is about 10%.

It is important to note that these survival rates are based on overall averages and can vary greatly depending on individual factors such as age, overall health, and the specific characteristics of cancer. Early detection, proper treatment, and follow-up care can significantly improve the prognosis for colonic neoplasm.

Who should be screened for colonic neoplasm?

Beginning screening for colorectal cancer at age 45 is crucial for preventing the disease and detecting it early. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) recommends that adults aged 45 to 75 undergo colorectal cancer screening. For those aged 76 to 85, the Task Force advises discussing screening with their doctor.

The Task Force endorses several colorectal cancer screening methods, including stool tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy). These strategies can help identify precancerous polyps or early-stage cancer, allowing for timely treatment and improved outcomes.

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The stories shared below are not written by Buoy employees. Buoy does not endorse any of the information in these stories. Whenever you have questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always contact your doctor or a healthcare provider.
Dr. Rothschild has been a faculty member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He currently practices as a hospitalist at Newton Wellesley Hospital. In 1978, Dr. Rothschild received his MD at the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in internal medicine followed by a fellowship in critical care medicine. He also received an MP...
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