Research Article| Volume 5, ISSUE 3, P531-544, July 1996

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Epidemiology Of Gastrointestinal Polyps

  • Judith S. Jacobson
    Address reprint requests to: Judith S. Jacobson, DrPH, Division of Epidemiology, PH 18-126, Columbia University School of Public Health, 600 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032.
    From the Division of Epidemiology, Columbia University School of Public Health, New York, New York
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  • Alfred I. Neugut
    College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York

    Division of Oncology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, New York
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      Associations between polyps and cancer of the gastrointestinal tract have been fully documented for adenomatous polyps and cancer of the large bowel. The geographic, gender, and age distribution of colorectal adenomas parallels that of colorectal cancer incidence, and individuals with a history of adenomas are at increased risk for metachronous adenomas and cancer. Observational studies of risk factors for incident adenomas have found elevated risk associated with dietary variables including: high fat, low fiber, and low vegetable intake; family history; obesity; smoking; and other exposures, some of which also are associated with cancer. Dietary intervention trials with adenoma recurrence as an endpoint, however, have had little success. Screening with polypectomy has proved effective in reducing cancer incidence and may change the epidemiology of colorectal cancer.