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do polyps always mean cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths among American men and women. These cancers arise from the inner lining of the large intestine, also known as the colon. Tumors may also arise from the inner lining of the very last part of the digestive tract, called the rectum.

Colorectal cancer usually begins as a “polyp,” a nonspecific term to describe a growth on the inner surface of the colon. Polyps are often non-cancerous growths but some can develop into cancer.

The two most common types of polyps found in the colon and rectum include:

Hyperplastic and inflammatory polyps. Usually these polyps do not carry a risk of developing into cancer. However, large hyperplastic polyps, especially on the right side of the colon, are of concern and should be completely removed.
Adenomas or adenomatous polyps. Polyps, which, if left alone, could turn into colon cancer. These are considered pre-cancerous.