Lynch syndrome, also known as Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC), is an inherited condition that can cause cancer to emerge from adenomas, or benign tumors in the colon. It can also increase the risk for various kinds of cancers, such as those located in the brain, stomach, kidney, small intestine, liver, gallbladder, etc.
Females with Lynch syndrome are also at a higher risk for cancer in the ovaries and uterus. However, the most prevalent cancer caused by Lynch syndrome is colon cancer. Lynch syndrome is a hereditary condition and an autosomal-dominant disease, meaning that a person only needs one parent to have the condition in order to inherit it.
Because Lynch syndrome is an indicator of cancer, and not cancer itself, it doesn’t present any symptoms. However, a person’s family history can be indicative of the condition. For instance, if a person’s parents or siblings have Lynch syndrome, then they have a 50% chance of also having it.
If other relatives have colon cancer or any other kind of cancer, that could be a sign of Lynch syndrome. Those with the disorder also tend to develop benign polyps in the colon at an earlier age; because many polyps are harmless, this symptom may incidental to another issue that a doctor is looking at.
Treatment for Lynch syndrome is all about preventative measures and educating the family of potential inheritance so they can get tested. A person may want to seek out a genetic counselor, or a specialist who has been trained to help patients manage their disorder, figure out family planning, and understand the risk factors and the probability of passing the condition on.