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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Colon Cancer, Version 1.2017


Colon cancer often starts in a polyp. A polyp is an

overgrowth of cells that line the inner colon wall.


Figure 5.

Polyps need to be removed and tested

for cancer. An endoscopic polypectomy is a minor

surgery that removes polyps.

Not all polyps are the same. They differ in size,

shape, and how their cells look. There are three

types of colon polyps.



Adenomatous polyps

, or


, have

cells that don’t look like normal colon cells.

They are the most common type of polyp. Most

do not become cancer, but most polyps with

cancer started as adenomas.



Hyperplastic polyps

have cells that grow fast.

They are often found in the last part of the colon

and in the rectum. They rarely become cancer.



Inflammatory polyps

often grow after a flare-

up of an inflammatory bowel disease. They can

have any shape. The chance of them becoming

cancer is low.

Sessile polyps are flat polyps that grow flush along

the colon wall and do not have a stalk. Sometimes,

they can be hard to spot. Pedunculated polyps are

shaped like mushrooms. They have a stalk and

round top. Serrated is a term for any polyp that has

a saw-tooth pattern. Sessile serrated adenomas are

rare but have been linked to cancer.


Colon cancer basics


Figure 5

Colon polyp

A colon polyp is an overgrowth

of cells that line the inner surface

of the colon wall. Colon cancer

often starts in a polyp. However,

most polyps do not become