There are a group of inherited syndromes that are known to increase a person’s risk of getting colon cancer or endometrial cancer. Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer or HNPCC) is the most common hereditary factor linked to those diseases in women. Fortunately, there is genetic testing available that can screen for Lynch syndrome. Let’s go into more detail about what Lynch syndrome is and what you can expect from Lynch genetic testing.
Lynch syndrome is a hereditary condition that increases a person’s risk of developing colon cancer, endometrial cancer, and several other types of cancer. Lynch syndrome is also known to cause cancers at an earlier age. It is estimated that around three out of every 100 colon cancers or endometrial cancers are caused by Lynch syndrome. If Lynch syndrome runs in your family, it is likely that there are more instances of colon cancer or endometrial cancer in your family than in families not affected by Lynch syndrome.
There are a group of inherited syndromes that are known to increase a person’s risk of getting colon cancer or endometrial cancer.Symptoms of Lynch syndrome can include:
- Family history of colon cancer occurring at a relatively young age
- Family history of uterine or endometrial cancer
- Colon cancer before the age of 50
- Family history of other related cancers such as cancer of the kidney, ovaries, stomach, small intestine, liver, and sweat glands
What to Expect from Lynch Genetic Testing
Lynch genetic testing is a type of genetic testing that looks for changes in your genes that may indicate that you have Lynch syndrome. Genetic testing for Lynch syndrome is often part of a test for multiple cancer-related genetic mutations.
To begin testing, your doctor will take a sample of your blood. After special analysis in a lab, your doctor will look at the specific genes likely to have mutations that cause Lynch syndrome.
There are several results your doctor may find from Lynch genetic testing, including:
- Positive result:If the result is positive, it means that a gene mutation was discovered. It does not necessarily mean that you have cancer or even that you will get cancer. What it does mean is that you are at an increased lifetime risk of developing certain cancers and need to be vigilant about getting tested.
- Negative result: If the results of your test are negative, it means that a gene mutation was not found and that you most likely do not have Lynch syndrome. However, keep in mind that even though you don’t have Lynch syndrome, if you have a strong family history of cancer you may still be at an increased risk of developing cancer.
- Gene variation of unknown significance: It’s possible the test may come back inconclusive. This means your testing may have revealed a gene variation with an unknown significance.
Is Lynch Genetic Testing Right for You?
If you have a family history of colon or endometrial cancer, have a discussion with your doctor about undergoing a genetic evaluation to determine your cancer risk. If someone in your family has ever been diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, tell your doctor. Your doctor can help you understand Lynch syndrome and determine whether Lynch genetic testing is the right choice for you.
The board-certified and fellowship-trained gastroenterologists at Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates offer Lynch genetic testing and the highest quality of GI care in central Pennsylvania. If you have any questions or to schedule an appointment, please call our office at (717) 245-2228 or use our secure online appointment request form.