Colorectal adenomas are benign (noncancerous) growths that develop in the lining of the colon or rectum. They are considered precancerous because they can eventually turn into colorectal cancer if left untreated.
Adenomas are common, particularly in people over 50 years of age, and they often have no symptoms. However, if they grow larger, they can cause symptoms such as rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, or a feeling of fullness in the rectum.
Screening tests, such as colonoscopies, can detect adenomas and allow for early treatment. If an adenoma is found, it can usually be removed during the colonoscopy procedure.
In order to prevent colorectal adenomas and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, it is recommended to follow a healthy diet that is high in fiber and low in fat, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Regular screening for colorectal cancer, beginning at age 50 or earlier if there is a family history of the disease, is also important.