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Facts about Lynch Syndrome

Lynch syndrome is an inherited predisposition to cancer. Endometrial (uterine) cancer is the most common gynecologic malignancy in the United States and more than 2,000 cases of endometrial cancer each year may have a hereditary cause.

Here are some additional facts about Lynch syndrome that patients and their families should know:

  • Lynch syndrome is also known as Hereditary Non-polyposis Colorectal Cancer syndrome (HNPCC).
  • The lifetime risk of colorectal and endometrial cancer in Lynch syndrome is as high as 50% and 60%, respectively.
  • Patients with Lynch syndrome, in addition to increased risk of colorectal and endometrial cancer, are also at risk for other cancers, including ovarian, gastric, small bowel and liver cancer.
  • Identification of women with Lynch syndrome may allow for screening and prevention strategies for them and their affected family members.
  • Testing is available to identify patients with Lynch syndrome.

Risk Factors for Lynch Syndrome

  • Having been diagnosed with endometrial &/or colon cancer
  • Having relatives with endometrial &/or colon cancer and Lynch syndrome-associated cancers, including stomach, bowel, liver, gall bladder, kidney, ureter, brain, or sebaceous skin tumor

The presence of either of these risk factors should prompt genetic counseling to evaluate for the risk of having Lynch syndrome, and possible genetic testing. Identification of an inherited predisposition to developing cancer can allow a patient and their health care provider to make informed decisions regarding screening, preventative interventions and counseling of at-risk relatives. Appropriate interventions can be life saving.

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