• What is Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)?

    FAP is a genetic condition in which numerous polyps form in the colon. It occurs when the individual’s FAP gene (on chromosome 5) is faulty. A person with FAP has a 50% chance of passing this on to the next generation. If left untreated, it will eventually develop into cancer when the patient is in his 20s.

  • What are the symptoms?

    In the early stages, there may be no symptoms. As this is an inherited condition, you might have FAP if your parents or sibling(s) have been previously diagnosed. If you suspect that you might be at risk, arrange for a check-up immediately.

  • What does the check-up involve?

    Aside from medical consultation and examination, the doctor will need to perform a colonoscopy to examine the colon. The diagnosis of FAP is suggested by the presence of many polyps in the colon and rectum.

  • Can we rely on blood tests?

    The exact ‘faulty spot’ in the FAP gene is the same within the family, but varies across families. If someone in the family has FAP, and the ‘faulty spot’ has already been identified, a blood test can be done to check if the individual also has FAP. However, this test does not work for everyone at the moment.

  • How is FAP treated?

    With FAP, there are far too many polyps for removal via endoscopy. The only effective treatment is to remove the entire colon with surgery. After recovery, most patients go on to lead normal and functional lives.

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