Are polyps related to colon cancer?

Note: The physicians from Pennington Cancer Center at Baton Rouge General cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice in the Ask the Expert segment because they do not have thorough knowledge of relevant personal and family medical history, and a physical examination. They can respond to general questions about cancer and its treatment.

Question -  Are polyps related to colon cancer??


A polyp is simply a protrusion (or lump) of tissue from the lining of the colon.  Although some polyps may contain malignant cells (cancer), most polyps are benign.

Certain types of polyps (adenomatous polyps), although benign, may eventually develop into cancer.  Colon cancer screening may pick up adenomatous polyps and result in removal before cancer develops.  Screening is particularly important in individuals who have inherited a genetic predisposition to form adenomatous polyps ( a condition referred to as familial adenomatous polyposis).

Other kinds of benign colon polyps rarely develop into colon cancer.  Examples include hyperplastic and inflammatory polyps.

The American Cancer Society website ( has additional information regarding the relationship between polyps and colon cancer.