Familial GI Cancers Unit

Juvenile Polyposis - JP

This disease has been misdiagnosed since it was first reported in 1880 because of its similarity to FAP. It was formally described in 1964. Patients may have anywhere from 5 to 500 juvenile polyps, mostly in the large bowel and rectum. The stomach and small intestine are less commonly affected. There is an increased risk of bowel cancer among juvenile polyps which undergo change in the tissue.

Some patients may have associated malformations of the bowel, heart, or central nervous system from birth.

The most common symptom is painless rectal bleeding. Other warning signs include polyps protruding in the rectum; slipping of one part of the intestine into another; or malnutrition.

For patients with only a few juvenile polyps, regular examination of the entire large bowel and removal of polyps through a fibre optic instrument may be suggested. Surgery is indicated for patients with many polyps, severe symptoms, or change in the polyp tissue. Removal of the large bowel may be recommended and the rectum will either be followed or removed if cancerous changes occur.

There is more than one form of juvenile polyposis. Sometimes, several family members are affected. In other cases, there is just one family member with juvenile polyposis. However, there is still a 50 per cent chance for each child of an affected parent to have the disease gene. All first-degree relatives should be examined since early diagnosis and appropriate treatment may prevent the development of cancer.

If you would like to know more about Juvenile Polyposis, please contact us.

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