As the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths, colorectal cancer affects more than 130,000 men and women each year. The most common cause of hereditary colorectal cancer is Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC), more commonly known as Lynch syndrome.
Lynch Syndrome is associated with the following lifetime risks: a 40- 80% risk of colon cancer, a 20-60% risk of endometrial cancer, a 12% risk of ovarian cancer and a 13% risk of gastric cancer. In addition, Lynch is associated with an increased risk of other less common cancers including kidney/urinary tract cancer, biliary tract cancer and small bowel cancer.
There are five different genetic causes of Lynch syndrome (MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2 and EPCAM), and newer research has shown that the exact risks in a family can vary depending on which genetic mutation is present.
Lynch Syndrome, You & Your Children
Lynch-related cancers usually develop before age 50. If you have already been diagnosed with colorectal or endometrial cancer, genetic susceptibility testing to screen for Lynch can be valuable to you for several reasons.
It can help to determine if you are at increased risk of developing a second cancer in another part of the body.
Testing also is important because each child of a parent with a gene mutation has a 50/50 chance for inheriting the altered genes.
Knowing that you have Lynch syndrome can help determine your risk and your family's risk for other cancers and assist your doctor in recommending appropriate cancer screening measures.
Consider a genetics evaluation for hereditary colon cancer risk if:
You have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or endometrial cancer diagnosed before the age of 50.
You have a personal or family history of multiple Lynch-related cancers in the same person (such as two colorectal cancers or both colorectal and endometrial cancer).
You have two first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or children) who were diagnosed with colorectal, endometrial cancer or another Lynch cancer at any age.
You have had more than 5-10 pre-cancerous polyps removed during a colonoscopy.
You have a close family member who meets any of these criteria
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Hereditary Cancer Program
Center Pointe II
1100 Johnson Ferry Rd., Suite 355
Atlanta, GA 30342
Phone: (404) 851-6284