Causes of death were evaluated among 350 deceased patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) recorded in the Italian Polyposis Registry: 78.1% were due to colorectal cancer, 9.5% to extracolonic cancer (more than half of the upper gastrointestinal tract), 3.6% to desmoid tumors, and 8.8% to other causes. The age at diagnosis among 604 patients was studied in relation to presence of symptoms at presentation and presence of colonic cancer at surgery. In asymptomatic patients younger than 30 years the risk of colonic cancer was 3.3% and in symptomatic patients older than 40 it was 80%. A life-table analysis showed that postsurgical survival among patients without cancer at colectomy was 68% after 30 years, whereas that of patients with cancer was 41% after 10 years. The alternative prophylactic treatments of total colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis versus total proctocolectomy (IRA vs. IAA) were compared in terms of postsurgical survival. Both treatments showed a survival of 83% after 10 years. The risk of cancer in the rectal stump after IRA was 14.5% after 15 years and 25.2% after 25 years; the corresponding risks of dying from it were 4.3% and 9.3%, respectively.