Polyps are abnormal growths on the lining of the bowel. Polyps are common and up to 50% of people will develop colonic polyps during their lifetime. Polyps rarely cause symptoms and are usually only detected by screening or incidentally during examinations for other reasons. If polyps are left in the colon over many years they can slowly enlarge and some may become cancerous. Removing polyps (polypectomy) can prevent them from becoming cancerous and reduces the risk of developing and dying from bowel cancer.
People who develop polyps are at increased risk of developing polyps again in the future. The size of that risk and the speed at which they occur will depend on the number, size, type and location of the polyps. People who are found to have polyps should normally enter a surveillance program with repeat colonoscopies to detect and remove new polyps over time. How frequently colonoscopy needs to be repeated will depending on the findings at your first colonoscopy, your personal and family history.