Lynch Syndrome Cancers - Lynch syndrome is a genetic disorder that increases the risk of developing certain types of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer. People with Lynch syndrome have a gene defect that helps repair DNA mistakes, which means that they are more likely to develop cancers. Lynch syndrome happens due to a mutation in one of four genes: MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, or PMS2. These genes are responsible for repairing DNA mistakes, so when they are faulty, errors can build up over time and cause cells to become cancerous.
Lynch syndrome is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner, meaning that only one copy of the defective gene is needed to pass on the disorder. People with Lynch's disease have a 50% chance of passing the condition to their children. The risk of developing cancer increases as people with Lynch syndrome get older, and women with Lynch syndrome are also at increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Several factors may increase your risk of developing Lynch syndrome, including:
Lynch syndrome is associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer. Some lynch syndrome cancers include:
Colorectal cancer: People with Lynch syndrome have a significantly increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Lynch syndrome most likely accounts for up to 3% of all cases of colorectal cancer.
Endometrial cancer: Women with Lynch syndrome have a higher risk of developing endometrial cancer, cancer of the lining of the uterus. The lifetime risk of endometrial cancer in women with Lynch syndrome is as high as 80%.
Ovarian cancer: Women with Lynch syndrome are also at increased risk for ovarian cancer. The lifetime risk of ovarian cancer in women with Lynch syndrome is about 10-12%.
Gastric cancer: Lynch syndrome is also associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer, cancer of the stomach.
Skin cancers: People with Lynch syndrome have a slightly increased risk of developing skin cancers, such as melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.
Pancreatic cancer: Lynch syndrome is also linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
Urinary tract cancers: People with Lynch syndrome may be at an increased risk for developing bladder or kidney cancer.
Lymphoma: Lynch syndrome is associated with a slightly increased risk of lymphoma and cancer of the lymphatic system.
Lynch syndrome cancers tend to develop at a younger age than the general population, and they are often more aggressive. That is why people with Lynch syndrome need to be monitored closely by a healthcare team.
Lynch disease is a genetic disorder, so it is present at birth. However, Lynch syndrome symptoms may not appear until later in life. The average age of diagnosis is 50. Many people with Lynch syndrome do not have any symptoms until they develop cancer.
There are no specific Lynch syndrome symptoms, but as mentioned above, people with the condition may be more likely to have certain types of cancer, including colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer, and urinary tract cancers, and lymphoma. Lynch syndrome may also be associated with an increased risk of skin cancers.
There is no cure for Lynch syndrome, but treatments are available to help manage the condition and reduce the risk of cancer. Treatment options for Lynch syndrome may include:
Cancer screening: People with Lynch syndrome are at an increased risk of developing certain cancer types. As a result, regular cancer screenings are essential for people with this condition. Cancer screenings may include colonoscopies, endometrial biopsies, pelvic exams, skin exams, and scans.
Cancer prevention: Some steps people with Lynch syndrome can take to reduce their risk of cancer. For example, doctors may advise them to avoid tobacco products, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly.
Lynch syndrome treatment also focuses on identifying and treating cancer early. Treatment options for Lynch syndrome-related cancers may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Clinical trials are also a treatment option for some people with Lynch syndrome.