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Colon Polyps

more about Colon Polyps


  • Polyps are small masses that protrude in the colon. These may be benign or cancerous. Some of the benign lesion types (hyperplastic polyps) always stay benign, while other types (adenomas) can turn into cancer. Discovering adenomas is important because it is believed that eventually they will turn into cancer -- the larger the adenomas, the higher the likelihood. In addition, there are rare family (genetic) syndromes in which multiple polyps occur in the colon. Some of these syndromes have a very high risk of developing cancer.

  • Usually no symptoms
  • Blood in bowel movements

  • Hemoccult testing (stool at home placed on special cards to check for microscopic blood)
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (scope placed in rectum to look at lower part of colon only)
  • Barium Enema (barium given in rectal enema allowing X-Rays of the colon to be taken)
  • Colonoscopy (scope passed through rectum to look at entire colon) -- studies show this is the best test to detect colon polyps.

  • Polyp removal during Colonoscopy for smaller polyps
  • Surgical polyp removal for larger polyps

  • Familial (genetic) syndromes associated with multiple colon polyps
    1. Familial adenomatous polyposis, Gardner's Syndrome, and Turcot's syndrome -- are genetically transmitted conditions in which hundreds of polyps form. Nearly everyone with these genetic conditions develops Colon Cancer by age 50; therefore, surgical removal of the colon is advised by age 35, or as determined by the doctor.
    2. Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome -- a genetically transmitted syndrome of benign tumors of the colon called hamartomas. These do no turn into cancer, but 50% of people with this condition develop cancer in places other than the colon, specifically the breasts, genitals, pancreas, stomach, or duodenum. The reason they develop these other cancers is unknown. Those with this condition also have thick-looking freckle lesions on the lips, mouth, and skin.
    3. Familial juvenile polyposis -- also a genetic syndrome characterized by benign tumors (also hamartomas). There is an increased risk or Colon Cancer with this condition.

more about Colon Polyps

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