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Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

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by Badash M




Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. To confirm a diagnosis, your doctor will do some tests. These may include:
An endoscopy is a thin, lighted, telescope-like tube with a camera that is used to look for polyps inside the intestines. Endoscopy for FAP may include:
  • An exam of the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine
  • An exam of the rectum and colon


FAP is treated with surgery. Since FAP causes so many polyps, they cannot be removed individually. Therefore, the goal of surgery is to remove the portion of the intestine that contains the cancerous or precancerous polyps. The surgical procedure used depends on the length of intestine involved.


The three main surgical treatments are:
  • Colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis (IRA)—Removal of the colon except for a small section above the rectum. The last part of the small intestine is connected to the remaining part of the colon, preserving bowel function.
  • Restorative proctocolectomy (pouch)—Removal of the colon and rectum, leaving the anal canal. A pouch is created with the lower end of the small intestine. The pouch mimics the function of the rectum. The pouch is connected to the anal canal, preserving bowel function.
  • Total proctocolectomy with permanent ileostomy—Removal of the colon, rectum, and anal canal. A permanent ileostomy is created. An ileostomy is a surgical opening through the wall of the abdomen. It is used as a path for waste material to leave the body. After an ileostomy, you will wear a special bag to collect body waste.
Duodenal polyps in the small intestine are managed with endoscopy. An endocope is used to find the polyps. Once found, the surgeon inserts small tools through a tube in the endoscope and removes them. In some cases, surgery to remove the duodenum may be done.


Medications are used shrink polyps and to prevent new ones from forming. Medications include:
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • COX-2 inhibitors


The remaining intestine will need to be inspected by endoscopy as often as every 6 months for the rest of your life. Because the risk of developing other polyps that could grow to become cancer is so high, it is crucial for your doctor to keep a very close watch. If more polyps arise, further surgery may be required.


American Cancer Society




Canadian Cancer Society

Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada



FAP. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: Accessed May 24 ,2013.

Familial adenomatous polyposis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated June 25, 2012. Accessed May 24, 2013.

Familial adenomatous polyposis . Genetics Home Reference website. Available at: Updated April 2008. Accessed May 24, 2013.

Jasperson KW, Burt RW. APC-associated polyposis conditions. GeneReviews. Available at: Updated October 27, 2011. Accessed May 24 ,2013.


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