Lynch syndrome is a genetic condition that increases the risk of developing a number of different types of cancer, including cancer in the digestive organs. Dr. Jerman, can you tell us more about Lynch syndrome?
Sure, Dr. Mansfield. Lynch syndrome occurs when there is a mutation in one of five specific genes, which can be passed on from a parent to their children, or that occurs spontaneously when an embryo is first developing. This mutation prevents the gene from producing its normal protein, which is necessary to repair damage that naturally occurs in our DNA. Without the normal ability to repair DNA damage, cancers are prone to develop.
Lynch syndrome not only increases the overall risk of developing certain types of cancer, but also causes cancer to occur at a younger age. The types of cancer and the risk caused by Lynch syndrome include:
- Colorectal cancer, up to 70 to 80 percent risk
- Endometrial cancer, up to 70 to 80 percent risk
- Ovarian cancer, up to 20 percent risk
- Stomach and small intestine cancer, up to 13 percent risk
- Urinary tract cancer, up to 25 percent risk
- Unusual forms of skin tumors, up to nine percent risk
- Bile duct and pancreatic cancer, up to four percent risk, and
- Brain cancer, up to four percent risk