Colorectal cancer

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Non-cancerous tumours of the colon or rectum

A non-cancerous (benign) tumour of the colon or rectum is a growth that does not spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Non-cancerous tumours are not usually life-threatening. Most non-cancerous tumours are polyps that are attached to the lining of the colon or rectum. They usually stick out from the lining and grow toward the hollow centre of the colon or rectum.

Non-cancerous tumours of the colon or rectum are usually found during a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. They are removed so they can be examined under a microscope to make a diagnosis. Surgery to remove them is the usual treatment.

Hyperplastic and inflammatory polyps

Hyperplastic polyps are the most common type of non-cancerous colorectal tumour. They are often small and found in the rectum.

Inflammatory polyps are usually found in people with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis.


A hamartoma, also called a hamartomatous polyp, can form in many parts of the body, including the colon or rectum. They usually don’t cause any symptoms. If hamartomas are found, more testing may be done to find out if you have Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. This syndrome is a hereditary colorectal condition that increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer.


A lipoma starts in fat cells and can form anywhere in the body where there are fat cells, including the colon and rectum. Doctors usually don’t remove them unless they are large and cause symptoms like pain or a blockage in the intestine.


A small growth on a mucous membrane, such as the lining of the colon, bladder, uterus (womb), vocal cords or nasal passage.

Most types of polyps are non-cancerous, but some have the potential to become cancer.


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Great progress has been made

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Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

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