I have familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Recently, my physicians have identified polyps in the upper portion of my intestine, my gall bladder, and my stomach. Are these all the same type of polyps?
Hundreds to thousands of adenomatous polyps of the colon are the most common feature of familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). By age 35, 95% of individuals with FAP have this type of polyp. Adenomatous polyps (often referred to as adenomas) are benign (noncancerous) growths that develop in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. These polyps are often biopsied during a screening colonoscopy and graded as mild, moderate, or severe. Polyps graded as severe are more likely to progress to cancer. Once 20 to 30 polyps or multiple "severe" polyps develop, a colectomy (removal of colon) may be recommended to prevent cancer.
Affected people may also develop fundic gland or adenomatous polyps of the stomach; however, the risk of these polyps advancing to stomach cancer is less than 1%. Gastric (stomach) fundic-gland polyps are hamartomatous (made up of an abnormal mixture of cells and tissues normally found in the area of the body where the growth occurs) and occur in approximately half of people with FAP. Gastric adenomatous polyps occur in about 10% of people with FAP.
Adenomatous polyps of the duodenum (small intestine) are observed in 50-90% of people with FAP and are commonly found in the second and third portions of the duodenum. The lifetime risk of small bowel cancer is 4-12% with the majority occurring in the duodenum. In rare cases, adenomatous polyposis are also found in the gallbladder, although these growths are typically discovered late (over age 40).
Last updated: 11/27/2014
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