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Colorectal Polyps

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 3, 2024.

What are colorectal polyps?

Colorectal polyps are small growths of tissue in the lining of the colon and rectum. Most polyps are usually benign (not cancer). Certain types of polyps, called adenomatous polyps, may turn into cancer.

Colon Polyps

What increases my risk for colorectal polyps?

The exact cause of colorectal polyps is unknown. The following may increase your risk:

What are the signs and symptoms of colorectal polyps?

What do I need to know about colorectal polyp screening and diagnosis?

Screening means you are checked for polyps that may be cancer, even if you do not have signs or symptoms. Screening is recommended starting at age 50 and continuing to age 75 if you are at average risk. Your healthcare provider may suggest screening starting at age 45. Screening may start before you are 45 or continue after you are 75 if your risk is high. Your provider will tell you how often to get screened. Timing depends on the type of screening and if polyps are found. Timing also depends on your age and if you are at increased risk for cancer. Screening may be recommended every 1, 2, 5, or 10 years. Your healthcare provider will need to test polyps to find out if they are cancer. Any of the following may be used to find polyps:

How are colorectal polyps treated?

Small, benign polyps may not need treatment. Your healthcare provider will check the polyp over time to make sure it is not changing. Polyps that are cancer may be removed with one of the following:

What can I do to lower my risk for colorectal polyps?

Where can I find more information?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.