Stuart Cairns

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United Kingdom with approximately 35,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with bowel cancer is about 1 in 20 for women and 1 in 18 for men. Most colorectal cancers are thought to arise in adenomatous polyps through the adenoma-carcinoma sequence and the removal of adenomas during colonoscopy has been shown to decrease the subsequent development of colorectal cancers.

Polypectomy is the most commonly performed therapeutic intervention and all colonoscopists should be able to perform the procedure safely and effectively. Practice has evolved considerably in recent years and there is now a range of equipment and techniques available for different clinical settings. Despite a wealth of clinical experience however, the practical application of polypectomy techniques has been subject to few controlled studies.

These guidelines are based on a Medline literature search and on expert opinion and review. Their purpose is to highlight areas of good practice and promote the use of standardised protocols within and between centres.