Polyps begin in the cells of glandular structures lining the colon. Most polyps are benign, but one kind is the cause of greater concern – the Colon Adenomatous Polyp (adenoma). This growth is associated with DNA changes in the lining of the colon. Up to 10% of these polyps can become cancerous within a 10 year period if undetected or ignored.
For individuals with high risk polyps, the chance of at least one of these polyps becoming cancerous is significantly increased. However, if malignant polyps are detected early, 90% of patients survive at least five years.
Some individuals have a genetic tendency to develop polyps. Individuals age 50 or older have a higher risk of developing Colon Adenomatous Polyps. In addition to genetic factors, these polyps are associated with a diet high in fat and beef and low in fiber. Another risk factor is a lack of exercise resulting in weight gain.
To prevent polyps from becoming cancerous, they must be removed. CPP is developing, in concert with the NCI, a Colon Adenoma Therapy (CAT) meant to prevent recurrence and occurrence of colon cancers.