Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I have just learned that a lot of our family members are carriers of Lynch Syndrome. I have looked everywhere and can't find anything on it. Is there anything you can tell us? I am told it is a form of colon cancer. My uncle was just told he is a carrier. Can you help me?
Timothy C. Hoops, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Gastroenterology Division at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Gastroenterology at Penn Medicine at Radnor responds:
Lynch Syndrome is one of the inherited syndromes that is characterized by a high risk for the development of colon cancer. Several abnormal genes have been discovered as the culprits for this disease. It is a dominantly inherited syndrome meaning that if the abnormal gene is inherited from the parent, the person will have the disease. If a parent has the disease, there is a 50% chance that they will pass it on to their children. If the parent does not have the disease, it cannot be passed on to the next generation, that is, it doesn't appear to skip generations.
There are other cancers that can occur in Lynch Syndrome, most notably uterine and ovarian cancer in women. The goal in patients who are at risk is to try to prevent these cancers. As such, routine colonoscopic screening examinations are recommended. OncoLink has joined forces with the National Colorectal Research Alliance to help their scientists study the risk factors associated with colorectal cancer and identify potential preventive and treatment therapies. You and your family may be interested in taking our survey. This confidential survey was developed by cancer experts as an interactive way to help our leading scientists study families with a history of colorectal cancer.