Children's Hospital Colorado
Center for cancer and blood disorders
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Center for cancer and blood disorders

The Polyposis Program at Children's Hospital Colorado

A patient wearing all black sits in a red, yellow and maroon striped chair reading a book while a woman wearing a yellow surgical gown sits next to him.Much like hereditary cancer, polyposis syndromes are inherited diseases involving the development or presence of small tissue growths called polyps. These polyps mainly occur in the gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach, small bowel or colon. Children who were affected by polyps unfortunately have an increased risk of cancer, benign tumors and other conditions involving the GI tract later in life.

Symptoms of polyposis syndromes

  • A polyp that protrudes from the rectum
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Blood in stool
  • Anemia
  • Low red blood cell

What can I expect from my visit to the Polyposis Syndromes Clinic?

The Polyposis Clinic has many providers of multiple disciplines available to see our patients during a single appointment, based on the patient’s specific needs. During your visit, you can expect to meet with:

You may also meet with:

What should I do if I think there is hereditary polyposis and/or cancer in my family?

With a genetics consultation through the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, you can investigate the possibility of hereditary polyposis and/or cancer in your family. By talking with a genetic counselor, you will learn how cancer can be inherited and what steps can be taken to prevent and detect cancer as early as possible.

Can hereditary diseases be prevented?

In some cases, prevention of hereditary cancer and other diseases like polyposis syndrome is possible. For example, with we can help prevent polyps from developing into tumors by removing and managing them properly. Cancer resulting from digestive tract polyps is one of the only cancers we can prevent before it happens through the management of polyposis.

How do I know if the cancer or disease in my family is hereditary?

Your doctor or genetic counselor can help you figure out if your family history suggests that you may have a hereditary risk for polyposis or cancer.

In general, the following situations increase the chances that an inherited form of polyposis or cancer may exist in your family:

  • Multiple family members diagnosed with polyps, tumors, or cancer, especially if under the age of 50
  • Polyps, tumors, or cancer in multiple generations
  • Multiple cancers (two or more) diagnosed in an individual
  • Cancer or polyps in an individual who also has two or more anomalies (meaning something that is unusual or different) such as:
    • Birth defects
    • Abnormal growth and/or development, such as large head size and developmental delay
    • Other major medical issues unrelated to polyps or cancer, such as congenital hypertrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium (CHRPE)
    • Multiple lumps, bumps, or abnormal pigmentation (dark or light spots) on skin
    • Rare or certain types of cancer/tumors, such as:
      • Desmoid tumor
      • Gastrinoma
      • Hepatoblastoma
      • Lhermitte-Duclos (dysplastic gangliocytoma of the cerebellum)
      • Ovarian or testicular stromal tumors
      • Pituitary adenoma
      • Psammomatous melanotic schwannoma
      • Kidney cancer
      • Urothelial carcinoma

What happens if my child has an inherited polyposis syndrome?

If your child is found to have an inherited condition with a predisposition to polyposis or other extraintestinal manifestations, our team will meet with you to plan a surveillance program. Using endoscopy, laboratory testing and radiology tests, we will monitor your child to prevent or diagnose problems early. 

Why choose Childrens Hospital Colorado for polyposis syndromes?

At Children's Colorado, we are skilled in advanced endoscopic techniques including single-balloon small bowel enteroscopy and small bowel capsule enteroscopy. This leading-edge technology allows us to take the best possible care of your child.

Parents also choose our Polyposis Clinic because of:

  • Our extensive experience in caring for kids with polyposis syndromes
  • Our providers are national leaders in the field with published work about hereditary cancer
  • Our multidisciplinary approach, which allows families to see multiple specialists in one visit