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A 38-year-old member asked:

Is colorectal cancer caused by a genetic defect leading to polyps?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 45 years experience
Yes and no: All benign and malignant tumors result from accumulated genetic mutations. There are a few hereditary illnesses in which a child inherits a first mutation in the series that leads to colon cancer. However, most people with colon cancer began life with a genome free of cancer-causing mutations. Benign polyps may or may not acquire additional mutations and turn cancerous.
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Last updated Dec 21, 2013

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