Do Polyps Mean I Have Colon Cancer?

Last Modified: January 24, 2012

Question

I recently had a colonoscopy and my doctor told me I had some polyps, does this mean I have colon cancer again?

Answer

Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink Nurse Educator, responds:

No. This is good news- screening worked to find a polyp before it progressed to cancer. Not all polyps can become cancers. The majority of tumors begin when normal tissue in the colon wall forms an adenomatous polyp, or pre-cancerous growth projecting from the colon wall. As this polyp grows larger, the tumor is formed. This process can take many years, which allows time for early detection with screening tests.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Interpreting Test Results transcript.

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