Definitions & Symptoms

Colon polyps are growths on the lining of your colon or rectum. Some polyps can become cancer over time, so removing them during a colonoscopy is the best prevention. Most people have no symptoms from polyps. Occasionally they may bleed or grow large enough to cause a blockage of the intestine.

Risk factors

Risk factors for the development of colon polyps include a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps. Other risk factors include a low fiber diet and a diet high in proceeds and fatty foods. Polyps may also be associated with some inherited disorders, including: Familial adenomatous polyposis, Gardner syndrome, Juvenile polyposis, Lynch syndrome (HNPCC), Peutz-Jeghers syndrome


Usually polyps are discovered and removed during a routine or diagnostic colonoscopy. Colonoscopies are recommended as a way to prevent colon cancer; when performed regularly (usually suggested for people over 50, though those with a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps may need to be screened earlier) they can aid in diagnosing colon cancer at an early and treatable stage. Other tests that show polyps include: Rectal examination, stool test, Barium enema, Sigmoidoscopy, Virtual colonoscopy


Almost all polyps can be removed endoscopically during a colonoscopy. Follow up colonoscopies may be recommended within three to five years to check for a recurrence.

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