Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is an inherited disorder characterized by cancer of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. People with the classic type of familial adenomatous polyposis may begin to develop multiple noncancerous (benign) growths (polyps) in the colon as early as their teenage years.
Prophylactic colectomy is indicated if more than a hundred polyps are present, if there are severely dysplastic polyps, or if multiple polyps larger than 1 cm are present. Treatment for the two milder forms of FAP may be substantially different from the more usual variant, as the number of polyps is far fewer, allowing more options. Various medications are being investigated for slowing malignant degeneration of polyps,