- Experience. Each year, Mayo Clinic doctors treat thousands of people for colon polyps and perform more than 35,000 colonoscopies, the primary test for colon polyps. Mayo specialists have treated thousands of people with rare polyp disorders that often are associated with hereditary colorectal cancer.
- Advanced techniques. Mayo Clinic specialists use the latest imaging tools to find colon polyps and determine if they are cancerous. Mayo digestive disease specialists (gastroenterologists) and colorectal surgeons are committed to using minimally invasive procedures to treat even very large polyps and early cancers.
- Efficient care. At Mayo Clinic colon polyps are usually removed when they are found or later that day sparing you an extra trip to the doctor and another round of bowel preparation.
- Research. Mayo Clinic researchers are investigating new ways to find and remove colon polyps. You have access to the expertise of Mayo's clinician-researchers.
There are three main types of colon polyps:
- Hyperplastic. Hyperplastic polyps occur most often in the descending colon (on your left side) and rectum. They are usually less than one-fourth inch in diameter and noncancerous. Larger, right-sided hyperplastic polyps may become cancerous.
- Adenomatous (adenomas). There are three types of adenomatous polyps: villous, tubular and tubulovillous. Villous adenomas are more likely to become cancerous.
- Inflammatory. Inflammatory polyps usually result from ulcerative colitis and aren't a cancer risk.
Colon polyps also are classified by shape. Pedunculated polyps grow on fleshy stalks and resemble mushrooms or toes. Sessile polyps have broad bases.
Hereditary polyp disorders
Rarely, people inherit genetic mutations that cause colon polyps to form. If you have one of these genetic mutations, you are at much higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Screening and early detection can help prevent the development or spread of these cancers. Mayo Clinic patients in Minnesota are placed on a colorectal cancer prevention registry and updated on new screening techniques and procedures. Mayo researchers are working to discover more genetic mutations that cause hereditary polyp disorders.
Mayo Clinic specialists are experienced in treating these hereditary polyp disorders:
Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (Lynch syndrome)
Familial adenomatous polyposis and its variations:
- Attenuated FAP
- Gardner syndrome
- Turcot syndrome
Hamartomatous polyposis syndromes, including:
- Juvenile polyposis. Polyps usually begin growing in early childhood. The risk of developing cancer of the colon ranges from 9 to 50 percent. Stomach cancer is also a risk.
- Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. In addition to polyps, freckles or dark spots appear on the lips, in the lining of the mouth and around the eyes. The risk of developing colon cancer is about 40 percent. People with Peutz-Jeghers are also at increased risk for breast, pancreas, stomach and ovarian cancers.
- Cowden's disease. People with Cowden's are at increased risk for breast and thyroid cancers, as well as colon polyps that may progress to colorectal cancer.
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., ranks No. 1 for digestive disorders in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., are ranked high performing for digestive disorders by U.S. News & World Report.
Mayo Clinic: Answers you can trust
At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.
Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.
Why Choose Mayo Clinic
What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart
Jul. 16, 2011
- Polyps of the colon and rectum. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec02/ch021/ch021g.html#sec02-ch021-ch021e-1467. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- What I need to know about colon polyps. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/colonpolyps_ez/. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Colorectal cancer prevention and treatment. American Gastroenterological Association. http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/AGAPatientBrochure_ColorectalCancer.pdf. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Ahnen DJ, et al. Approach to the patient with colonic polyps. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Detailed guide: Colorectal cancer. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003096-pdf.pdf. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Torpy JM, et al. Colon polyps. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008;300:1480.
- Itkowitz SH, et al. Colonic polyps and polyposis syndromes. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed May 25, 2011.
- Ahnen DJ, et al. Colorectal cancer: Epidemiology, risk factors, and protective factors. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Tolliver KA, et al. Colonoscopic polypectomy. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America. 2008;37:229.