Most polyps will never cause problems, but because a certain percentage of polyps go on to develop into colorectal cancer, doctors advise having any identified polyps removed as soon as possible. If a polyp is discovered during a colonoscopy procedure, it can usually be immediately removed during the procedure in a minimally invasive fashion. The excised tissue is then sent to a pathologist to determine if it is the type of polyp that might lead to cancer formation. In some rare cases, due to the location or size of the polyp, a simple surgical procedure may be necessary to remove it.
Removal of polyps can actually prevent colorectal cancer from developing. Once a polyp is removed, it is very unlikely to recur, but people who have developed one polyp often go on to develop additional polyps. Thus, patients who are found to have one polyp are usually advised to have frequent colonoscopies, such as every three to five years instead of the usual recommendation of one every ten years.