Lynch Syndrome: A Female Cancer You Should Be Aware Of

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Colorectal Cancer and Female Cancers.

Colon Cancer is common. Along with rectal cancer, it is the third most common cancer in the United States, with 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year.  Ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.  Also common.  These cancers affect up to 74,000 women per year.  Clearly, between all of these malignancies. many people, especially women, are affected.  Colorectal cancer is preventable with simple screening techniques.  While more difficult to detect, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer can be diagnosed in their early stages and treatment can be instituted early.

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Colon and rectal Surgeons also known as proctologists, are trained specifically to understand the relationships between colon cancer, rectal cancer and female malignancies.  However, the first step in prevention and diagnosis is visiting the proctologist.  Yearly visits to your gynecologist are also critically important.  While apprehension or fear may make these visits understandably anxiety producing, failure to prevent or screen for colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer or endometrial cancer is even worse.  In Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, Gary H. Hoffman M.D., Eiman Firoozmand M.D., and Liza Capiendo M.D. are well versed in all aspects of  the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the colon, rectum and anus, especially as they relate to female cancers.

Colorectal Cancer and Female Cancers.  What Is The Connection?

Henry Lynch, of Creighton University noted, the connections between family members when looking at the distributions of colon cancer in 1966. These connections were given the name of Hereditary Nonpolyposis colorectal Cancer (HNPCC).   In 1983, other researchers noted that there were 2 forms of Lynch Syndrome, Lynch I and Lynch II.  There were similarities and differences between Lynch I and Lynch II. Between 3% and 5% of all cases of colorectal cancer are associated with Lynch Syndrome.  Ultimately, it was found that  Lynch Syndrome is caused by many gene mutations, the most common being in genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, or PMS2.  While this may seem to be an academic issue for the patient, suffice it to say that the results of genetic testing may guide the manner in which your colon and rectal surgeon evaluates you on a regular basis.  It is more than academic.  The connection between these cancers is a genetic one.  And, there is a connection between colorectal cancers and female cancers in patients and families with Lynch Syndrome.

How Do I Get screened for Lynch Syndrome?

You may be aware that there is a family history of colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer (also known as uterine cancer) and various other rarer cancers in your family.  This important piece of information is your first clue that your screening for these cancers must take place at an earlier age and more commonly than in those with no family history of Lynch Syndrome.  Another important piece of data is whether or not your family members have been genetically screened for Lynch Syndrome.  Blood tests are the definitive diagnostic tool in diagnosing Lynch Syndrome.

More commonly however, after undergoing an operation for colon or rectal cancer, or for uterine or ovarian cancer, a family member may be told that there is a possibility that Lynch Syndrome is involved.  This would lead you to visit your proctologist to look closer at your own health patterns.  If your family meets certain criteria known as The Amsterdam criteria or the Bethesda criteria, a genetic blood test will be performed.  If the test shows that you do have Lynch Syndrome, genetic counseling will be offered and an extensive bodily examination will be performed.

As these cancers seem to occur at a younger age than normal, screening should start at an earlier age.  Oftentimes, screening may start in the twenties.  If the history fits, your colorectal surgeon may recommend a colonoscopy to evaluate the lining of your colon for precancerous polyps or malignant tumors.  Additionally, a stomach evaluation may also be performed.  In women, a Pap smear will be performed, along with a transvaginal ultrasound, a relatively painless endometrial biopsy and a blood test known as CA-125.

Los Angeles Colon And Rectal Surgical Associates.

On the forefront of genetic testing, the board certified surgeons of  Los Angeles Colon And Rectal Surgical Associates are well aware of the connections between colorectal cancer and these female cancers.  Simple screening and surveillance will allow you to achieve piece of mind and begin a regular regime of evaluation and treatment if necessary.  However, the first step is yours and you may take this step by scheduling a confidential appointment with the surgeons of Los Angeles Colon And Rectal Surgical Associates.  (310)273-2310.

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