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Introduction to polyposis syndromes

Polyposis syndromes are a group of inherited conditions which cause people to develop numerous bowel polyps, as well as other features.

What is a polyp?

Polyps are small growths that develop on the inner lining of the gut. There are several different types, and some can develop into cancer.

What do we mean by  ‘inherited’

Inherited conditions are due to an alteration in a particular gene, which can be passed on in a family. That means that if a person is found to have a condition that we know is inherited, there is a chance that other members of the family might have it too, and benefit from medical advice. It is important to trace them and offer them testing.

What is a ‘gene’

The human body contains a huge number of cells. Cells are  the ‘building blocks’ of our bodies. The nucleus of a cell controls the cell’s  function and carries our genetic information in chromosomes, made of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Chromosomes are broken down into genes. A gene is a section of DNA on a chromosome, which provides instructions to form a particular protein. Proteins help contribute to the structure and function of our bodies and are essential for life.