Polyps—abnormal tissue growths in the large intestine—are relatively common in children and generally do not mean anything in terms of risk of serious illness. However, there is a select subgroup who have several polyps or a suspicious family history that make a hereditary condition with increased cancer risk a possibility. Given how rare these conditions are, many pediatric gastroenterologists seek the help of a multidisciplinary program that includes more specialized gastroenterologists, such as the Polyposis Center at Children’s Mercy.
The Polyposis Center offers highly specialized care for children with gastrointestinal polyposis. We are the only comprehensive, multidisciplinary team in the region with expertise in diagnosing and treating pediatric polyps and related intestinal cancer syndromes.
Our team collaborates extensively with similar national and international centers to remain at the forefront of clinical care, advanced endoscopic procedures, and research in this field.
Why children with polyps need specialized care
Children, sometimes even very young, can develop a single polyp in the colon by chance. However, children with several polyps, polyps in the rest of the intestine or polyps with unusual characteristics when studied in the lab may have a far more serious condition.
Some children with many polyps may have few or no symptoms but an expert review of their family history leads to a diagnosis of one of several different polyposis syndromes. This has, of course, important consequences. Polyposis syndromes reflect a pattern of developing polyps and also usually a risk of cancer inside and outside the colon.
Oftentimes, these children—with the right testing—are found to have detectable genetic mutations related to their condition. Ideally these children should be seen and treated by a team made up of individuals with a passion for treating these complex conditions. The team needs to include pediatric gastroenterologists, genetic counselors, social workers, psychologists and pediatric surgeons.
Children’s Mercy is committed to providing these resources in a single multidisciplinary clinic, which allows us to make communication and coordination of care for your child as seamless and safe as possible.
Find out more about what to expect before, during and after your visit to the Polyposis Center