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designated cancer center

Diagnosis and Treatement of Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is a genetic syndrome that causes colon cancer. The syndrome is also known as adenomatous polyposis coli, or Gardner syndrome. FAP is caused by a mutated adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene. Two-thirds of all cases are inherited from a parent with a mutant APC gene, and the remaining one-third of cases arise from a spontaneous APC gene mutation. FAP is a relatively rare cancer, afflicting about one in 10,000 people.

Patients with FAP can develop 100's of polyps in the colon and rectum at a young age. On average, polyps appear by age 16, and if the colon is not surgically removed, cancer will occur on average by age 39. The polyps eventually become so dense that they appear as a carpet of polyps upon visualization by colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.

Patient's afflicted with FAP have an increased risk for other health problems that include: polyps in the upper gastrointestinal tract, osteomas, epidermoid cysts, desmoid tumors, hypertrophy of retinal pigment, dental abnormalities, thyroid cancers, small bowel cancers, pancreatic cancers, stomach cancers, brain cancers, and hepatoblastomas.

Stanford Expertise

When you are being treated for cancer you want a physician who is familiar with your particular disease. Yet because FAP is rare it can be difficult to find a doctor who has treated patients with this condition. Our specialists at the Cancer Center not only treat FAP, but have expertise managing complex cases, and offer the most advanced diagnostic technologies and treatments available today.

Surgery is the first line of defense against the development or progression of FAP. The colorectal surgery program at Stanford University Medical Center is one of the most distinguished programs in the nation, and can provide you the most skilled and least invasive surgery possible for your condition.

A Multidisciplinary Approach
Multidisciplinary teams with expertise in radiology, interventional radiology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, pathology, and genetics meet weekly in a multidisciplinary gastrointestinal-colorectal tumor board, where they can provide a thorough and collaborative review of your records, radiographs, and pathology results.

In collaboration with your referring physician and with you, this team of experts will work together to determine the best care plan for your specific situation.

Genetic Analysis and Counseling
Because FAP is caused by a genetic alteration in a specific gene it is very important for FAP patients and their families to be evaluated by a genetic counselor.

Stanford Cancer genetic counselors who specialize in FAP genetic mutations can ensure that you are carefully monitored so that if you develop cancer it can detected early when it is most treatable, and help determine which other members of your family may be at risk.

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