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Growth projecting from the wall of a cavity lined with a mucous membrane. Shape varies widely; it may have a stalk or many lobes. Polyps most often occur in the nose, urinary bladder, and digestive tract, especially in the rectum and colon. Symptoms, if any, depend on location and size; they may result from pressure or from blockage of a passage. Polyps occasionally bleed. Because a small percentage are precursors to cancers or actually contain cancers, it is advisable to have them removed and examined microscopically and to undergo routine colonoscopy after age 50.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on polyp, visit Britannica.com.