A colorectal polyp is a usually noncancerous growth that forms on of the lining of the colon or rectum, most commonly as people age. Some types of polyps may develop into cancer over time, however; those polyps that are larger than one centimeter have a greater risk of doing so.
Polyps may also be associated with some inherited disorders, including:
- Familial adenomatous polyposis
- Gardner syndrome
- Juvenile polyposis
- Lynch syndrome (HNPCC)
- Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
To reduce the risk of developing polyps, physicians recommend:
- Eating a diet low in fat and high in fruits, vegetables and fiber
- Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake
- Maintaining a normal body weight
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), and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
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.
On rare occasions, for polyps with a high potential of becoming cancerous, the health care provider may recommend a colectomy, or removal of a part of the colon.