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What You Need to Know About Lynch Syndrome

Written by Dr. Karen Zaghiyan, originally published March 22, 2019 Lynch syndrome (aka hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer) is the most common hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome. If colorectal cancer genes run in your family, you or your children, siblings and parents may all be at high risk for developing colorectal and various associated cancers. So, should you talk to your health care provider about genetic testing for Lynch? What is Hereditary Colon Cancer? Globally, one out of 6 deaths are caused by cancer. Some cancers are hereditary, others related to lifestyle (i.e. tobacco), and many we don’t know the cause of. Some are inevitable, while others are potentially preventable. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the US in men and women combined and is rising in younger patients with many being diagnosed long before they reach cancer screening age. But for most patients, colorectal cancer is preventable through colorectal cancer screening (colonoscopy) – and globally the incidence of colorectal cancer is actually decreasing due to colorectal cancer screening protocols. The majority of colorectal cancers are sporadic – meaning they occur in people who have no family history of colorectal cancer – while 5% are due to an inherited cancer syndrome that is passed down generation to generation through genes. You may have Lynch if you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer and: You are younger than 50 years You have personally been diagnosed with 2 colorectal cancers, or colorectal cancer and uterine, ovarian, stomach, pancreas, small intestine, kidney, ureter, bile duct, or brain cancer You have a first degree relative (parent, sibling, child) diagnosed at age...
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