A polyp is an abnormal growth of cells that sticks out from a surface of a tissue, often into a body cavity or open space. Common locations for polyps include the colon, stomach, and uterus, although they can develop almost anywhere in the body.
Polyp is not a diagnosis by itself. Polyp is a description and the diagnosis depends on the location of the polyp and the types of cells in the polyp. Pathologists often use the word polypoid to describe an abnormal piece of tissue that shares some but not all of the features of a polyp.
Most types of polyps are benign (non-cancerous) growths but but some are made up of pre-cancerous or even malignant (cancerous) cells. Polyps made up of pre-cancerous cells are called precursors because they have the potential to turn into a cancer over time.