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February 3, 1962


JAMA. 1962;179(5):369-370. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050050059012

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IN this issue of The Journal several authors report studies of polypoid lesions of the colon and rectum. All agree that these polyps are common, but there is disagreement on the malignant potential of true adenomas (adenomatous polyps). Cancer of the colon and rectum is one of the most prevalent cancers in the United States and appears to be increasing. It would be helpful to know if the removal of adenomas would decrease deaths from cancer. The ideal test for the hypothesis that adenomas are premalignant lesions and that their removal reduces the mortality from cancer would be the excision of adenomas from half of a significant sample of patients with these lesions, combined with follow-up studies. The difficulties of such a program are obvious, and the physician must now make decisions on the indirect evidence which is at hand.

In one of the reports in The Journal (p. 322),