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GI-North  >  Colon Health   >  Adenoma Detection Rate

Adenoma Detection Rate

The colonoscopy has become an integral part of routine preventive care. While information on regular colonoscopy screenings has become widespread, many patients may still not understand why this exam is so important. Let’s discuss Adenomas, what they are, the Adenoma Detection Rate (ADR), and cancerous cells, to clarify the need for routine colonoscopies.

Adenomas and what you need to know

What are adenomas? Adenomas are abnormal growths that can be found in many parts of the body and are benign by definition. This means that they are localized accumulations of abnormal cells. Adenomas are also referred to as polyps or adenomatous polyps. After the age of 50, nearly two in five people can expect to have these abnormal growths in the colon, but only about 2% of these adenomas ever pose the risk of transformation to colon cancer.

Detection of adenomas is important because they have the potential to become malignant, or cancerous. Around 1 in 20 apparently adenomatous polyps in the colon actually harbor cancerous cells. The size of an adenoma can also be an important indicator as to the risk of cancerous transformation; polyps over 2 cm in size, or about ¾ of an inch, have up to a 40% chance of being malignant, while the risk can be as low as 1% with small polyps.

Why you need to have adenomas removed

During routine colonoscopies, adenomas are regularly removed, a process called polypectomy. This is done in order to examine the tissue microscopically and determine if it contains any cancerous cells. Having a growth removed that was later found to be cancerous, the process of polypectomy is not only diagnostic, but can also be curative. In such cases, a physician may recommend more frequent colonoscopies to ensure that the curative process was complete.

What the adenoma detection rate can indicate

The adenoma detection rate (ADR) is the percentage of patients over 50 years old who undergo a colonoscopy screening test for the first time and who have one or more adenomas found and removed during the procedure.

Higher ADRs have been linked to lower rates of cancer in patients who have undergone colonoscopy. The ADR can be influenced both by the prevalence of adenomas in the population at-large, as well as by the technique of the gastroenterologist performing the colonoscopy. Look for a colonoscopist who can report a high ADR, as this is suggestive of high quality of care.

How to decrease your risk of colon cancer

GI North specializes in all colonoscopy and gastrointestinal health needs. Dr. Cofrancesco and Dr. Quijano and their GI North team serve the Cumming, Georgia area, as well as the surrounding areas of Alpharetta, Roswell, Canton, and Suwanee. GI North also welcomes patients who prefer or require health care services in Spanish.

Whether for an ounce of prevention or a pound of cure, find out how GI North can address your GI health concerns.


While this article is intended to be informative, it is no substitute for professional medical advice. Visit a health care provider to learn more about your risk of colon cancer and how colonoscopies should be incorporated into your health maintenance plan.


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