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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017


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

overgrowth of cells that line the inner rectal 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 rectal polyps.



Adenomatous polyps

, or


, have

cells that don’t look like normal rectal 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 rectal 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.


Rectal cancer basics


Figure 5


A rectal polyp is an overgrowth of cells that line

the inner surface of the rectal wall. Rectal cancer

often starts in a polyp. However, most polyps do

not become cancer.

We are all very busy with our

lives. However, CRC screening

is quick and easy. If completed

in a timely manner, it can mean

the difference between life and

death. Think of it this way. If

you are clear, you only need a

colonoscopy at age 50, 60, and

70. That is only three times in

your entire life. No big deal.


Survivor, Stage I