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Colorectal polyps

  • Definition

    A colorectal polyp is a growth that sticks out of the lining of the colon or rectum.


    Alternative Names

    Intestinal polyps; Polyps - colorectal; Adenomatous polyps; Hyperplastic polyps; Villous adenomas


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Polyps of the colon and rectum are usually benign, meaning they are not cancer and they do not spread. There may be one or many polyps, and they become more common as people age.

    Over time, certain types of polyps, called adenomatous polyps, may develop into colon cancer. Another common type of polyp found in the colon is called a hyperplastic polyp, which usually does not develop into colon cancer.

    Polyps bigger than 1 centimeter have a greater cancer risk than polyps under 1 centimeter. Risk factors include:

    • Age
    • Family history of colon cancer or polyps
    • A type of polyp called villous adenoma

    Polyps may also be associated with some inherited disorders, including:

    • Familial adenomatous polyposis
    • Gardner syndrome
    • Juvenile polyposis
    • Lynch syndrome (HNPCC)
    • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome