Tubular adenomas are precancerous polyps in your colon typically found during colonoscopies. These polyps are your body’s early warning system for colorectal (colon) cancer. While about 50% of the population develops tubular adenomas, less than 10% of tubular adenomas become cancerous.
Tubular adenomas are precancerous polyps in your colon. They’re often found during routine colonoscopies done to screen for colorectal cancer. Even though fewer than 9% of tubular adenomas become cancer, learning you have them might be like getting a very early warning you have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. That early warning could help you reduce your risk.
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Seen under a microscope, both adenomas look like bumps in your colon lining or like tiny cauliflower heads clinging to a stalk. But tubular and villous adenomas have different growth patterns. Tubular adenomas have a regular growth pattern that looks like someone used your colon lining to create orderly rows of tiny test tubes. Villous adenomas look more like fronds from randomly placed ferns.
Understanding the different growth patterns helps healthcare providers to assess whether your adenomas are likely to become cancerous. For example, villous adenomas tend to grow more quickly than tubular adenomas and are more likely to become cancerous.
Anyone can develop tubular adenomas, but you’re at higher risk if:
Tubular adenomas rarely have symptoms. When they do, the most frequent symptom is finding painless bright red or dark red blood when you wipe yourself after pooping. Other symptoms are:
Your healthcare provider might find a tubular adenoma while examining your rectum as part of a physical examination. But most tubular adenomas are found during colonoscopies done to screen for colorectal cancer.
The primary treatment is to remove your adenomas. This usually happens during the colonoscopy where healthcare providers discovered your adenomas. Providers typically use a wire loop or forceps to pull the adenoma loose from your colon lining. You might feel some pressure or pulling, but no pain. Your provider retrieves the adenoma so they can examine it under a microscope for cancer cells.
Having tubular adenomas is a sign you might be at increased risk for colorectal cancer. There are many risk factors linked to colorectal cancer. Some of these you can change, and some you can’t. Here are steps you can take to reduce your risk:
Tubular adenomas are precancerous polyps in your colon and rectum. They’re usually found during colonoscopies done to screen for colorectal cancer. If your healthcare provider finds tubular adenomas while performing your colonoscopy, you’ll probably need to have colonoscopies more frequently than someone who does not have tubular adenomas.
Tubular adenomas can recur, particularly if you smoke.
You’re already taking steps to care of yourself by having the colonoscopy that showed you have tubular adenomas. If you’re feeling anxious about your colonoscopy outcome, it might help to remember a few facts about tubular adenomas:
You should contact your healthcare provider any time you notice changes in your body that might be signs of new tubular adenomas or other problems that might be signs of colorectal cancer. Tubular adenomas rarely have symptoms. When they do, the most frequent symptom is finding painless bright red or dark red blood when you wipe yourself after pooping.
You should go to the emergency room if you have the following problems after your colonoscopy:
When your regular colonoscopy shows you have tubular adenomas, you might want to ask your healthcare provider the following questions:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Tubular adenomas are a very early warning you’re at risk for colorectal cancer. Tubular adenomas aren’t cancerous and they aren’t likely to become cancer. But they are a sign you should consider learning what you can do to limit your risk of developing colorectal cancer. Ask your healthcare provider about steps you can take to limit your risk. They’ll be able to recommend helpful programs and services, whether that’s helping you stop smoking or to attain a healthy weight.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/07/2022.
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