Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is an inherited condition that will lead to colon cancer if untreated. It is marked by abnormal benign growths, or polyps, in the colon (the large intestine) or rectum.
FAP: what you should know
- One percent or less of colon cancers result from FAP, a genetic condition. If you have a parent, child or sibling with FAP or FAP-related colon cancer, you may be at risk.
- If you have FAP, you can develop polyps as early as age 13. As you age, you will develop more polyps, ranging from a hundred to possibly thousands.
- Colon polyps rarely have symptoms until they are advanced, which may be too late. Rectal bleeding, or a change in your bowel habits lasting a week or longer, may be signs of an advanced polyp or colon cancer.
- Polyps are best detected and sampled or removed by a test called a colonoscopy, in which doctors insert a long tube to view the colon. If the colonoscopy findings are suspicious for FAP, doctors can confirm the diagnosis of familial adenomatous polyposis through genetic testing.
- Colon cancer arising from FAP can be prevented by removing the colon before cancer develops.
Care for familial adenomatous polyposis at Rush
At Rush, specialists offer a full range of services to people affected by familial adenomatous polyposis:
- Doctors and nurses provide education, genetic testing and counseling.
- Colorectal surgeons have expertise in preventing FAP from becoming colon cancer, sometimes using minimally invasive surgery.
- Cancer teams work together to treat colon cancer using surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, either alone or in combination.
Why choose Rush for familial adenomatous polyposis
- Sandra Rosenberg Registry for Hereditary and Familial Colon Cancer: Identifies people at risk for colon cancer, and is the only registry of its kind in Illinois. It also offers genetic services, cares for patients, conducts research and promotes awareness.
- The Rush Inherited Susceptibility to Cancer Program: Counsels people on their personal and family risks for developing cancer. It provides information on prevention and early detection.
- The Coleman Foundation Comprehensive Clinic for Gastrointestinal Cancers: Brings together experts from different medical fields. Together, they provide a full spectrum of care for colon cancer patients.