Lynch syndrome (LS), formerly hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, accounts for about 3 to 5 percent of all colon cancers.
Individuals with LS have up to an 80 percent lifetime risk of developing colon cancer. Females have a 25 percent to 60 percent risk, and roughly a 10 percent risk to develop uterine and ovarian cancer. LS is also associated with increased risk for stomach, small intestine, biliary tract, urinary tract, pancreatic, and brain cancers.
Fortunately, once it is known whether someone has LS, steps can be taken to reduce the risk of these cancers. For people who have had cancer, their risk to get second cancers can be reduced.
One of our cancer genetic counselors can help to determine whether you have LS and/or whether genetic testing or tumor testing would be helpful. If you or a close family member has had colon or uterine cancer, testing of the tumor sample may help to determine whether further genetic testing is appropriate.
Each child of an individual with LS has a 50 percent chance of also having LS. Other relatives are at increased risk as well. If you or a close family member is diagnosed with LS, our genetic counselors can help determine who else in your family has LS.