Are All Polyps Cancerous or Malignant?

Colon polyps can be a cause for concern, but not all polyps are cancerous or malignant. In this video, Dr. Kozloff explains that a biopsy is needed to determine if polyps on the colon are benign, pre-malignant or cancerous.

Mark F. Kozloff, MD: When a colonoscopy is done, one of the findings can be polyps and not all polyps are cancerous or malignant.  Some polyps can be very benign and they can be either extremely benign what we call adenomas or they can be some more malignant or premalignant meaning that they can turn into a cancer, one of the common types is something called a villous adenoma, however, the only way to find out if a polyp is malignant or nonmalignant is to do a biopsy.  It can tell you if something is totally benign and nothing to worry about.  It can tell you if something is premalignant or early malignancy or is frankly malignant or cancerous.  Certainly, one should be aware that if you hear that you have a polyp one should be concern that it could be cancer plus one should be also very aware that it may not be cancer whatsoever.  I think also one can have some idea if something is malignant or not depending upon the size, the smaller the polyp, the less likely it is to be cancer, the bigger the polyp the more likely it is to be cancerous.  One will not know, if something is a cancer or not with a polyp until a biopsy has done.  Again, one should be aware that one of the findings during a colonoscopy is polyps.  Polyps may or may not be malignant and certainly if a polyp is found, a biopsy should be done.

Mark F. Kozloff, MD, has more than 30 years of experience treating many types of adult cancers. He works on a multidisciplinary team of experts in the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology where he specializes in the treatment of colorectal malignancies.

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This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use the information provided on this site solely at your own risk.  If you have any concerns about your health, please consult with a physician.


This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use the information provided on this site solely at your own risk. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult with a physician.

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