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Colonic Polyps, Cancer, and Fecal Occult Blood

Jerome B. Simon, MD
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Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3J7, Canada. Requests for Reprints: Jerome B. Simon, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Queen's University, 78 Barrie Street, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3J7, Canada.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1993;118(1):71-72. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-118-1-199301010-00013
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Colorectal polyps are common in the general population over the age of 50.Cancer develops in a small proportion of these lesions, but recent evidence suggests that this may occur less frequently than generally believed and that malignant polyps can behave biologically benign for long periods. Fecal occult blood tests (FOBTs) can help detect subclinical colonic neoplasms but it's not yet clear whether this actually decreases mortality from colorectal cancer. The interrelationships among colonic polyps, cancer, and FOBTs need further study.

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