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Dysplasia

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Updated: September 5, 2006

Definition:

Dysplasia is a general term for the abnormal growth or development of cells or organs. As it relates to colon cancer, dysplasia is the abnormal growth and development of colon cells.

Colon cancer generally develops from colon polyps. Since people start developing polyps as they get older, colon cancer screening guidelines recommend that everyone 50 or older be screened.

However, people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at risk for developing colon cancer both from polyps and from dysplasia. Those with ulcerative colitis (a form of IBD) are at most risk for developing colon cancer from dysplasia. Fortunately, dysplasia can be identified during a colonoscopy.

Sources:
  1. Colonic Polyps. El Salvador Atlas of Gastrointestinal Video Endoscopy. 5 Sep. 2006 [http://www.gastrointestinalatlas.com/English/Colon_and_Rectum/Polyps/polyps.html].
  2. Dysplasia. Merriam-Webster Online. 5 Sep. 2006 [http://m-w.com/dictionary/dysplasia].
  3. Ulcerative Colitis. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Feb. 2006. 5 Sep. 2006 [http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/colitis/index.htm].
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