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Article
August 25, 1962

RECTAL POLYPS AND CANCER

JAMA. 1962;181(8):720. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050340058011
Abstract

The significance of benign adenomatous polyps of the colon and rectum is still unknown despite considerable investigation in recent years. It is widely believed that rectal polyps either indicate a general susceptibility to neoplastic change in the colon and rectum or are themselves premalignant. However, in 1958 Spratt, Ackerman, and Moyer1 of St. Louis carefully examined the data then available and concluded that they could "find no real evidence that adenomatous colonic polyps become infiltrating, metastasizing cancers of the colon."

If it is true that such polyps indicate a general susceptibility to neoplastic change in the colon and rectum, there should be a relatively high incidence of colorectal cancer among patients with polyps, whether or not the polyps are removed. On the other hand, if polyps themselves become malignant, the incidence of cancer should be greater among patients with polyps left untreated than among patients from whom all visible

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