Last year around this time, I met a family who told their doctor that they would like to share their story to help others who might not know about Lynch Syndrome colon cancer, a particular type of colon cancer that had affected many of their relatives.
Leana, a married mother of three children, and the most vocal of the family, found out she had colon cancer around 13 years ago. Her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had all been diagnosed with the disease with her father, thankfully, surviving it. These circumstances made her particularly interested in increasing awareness.
Colon cancer, unlike so many other afflictions, is nearly 100 percent preventable if caught early, and detection is as simple as having a colonoscopy done.
Since Leana survived cancer and tested positive for the genetic mutation that causes Lynch Syndrome, she now has a colonoscopy every year.
It wasn’t long after her colonoscopy that she went with her youngest son, Dillon, for his first colonoscopy. Dillon tested positive for Lynch Syndrome, and because he knows about his genetic situation at his young age, he’ll be able to practice vigilance, and it’s likely that he will never develop colon cancer. He’ll be a previvor, a survivor of a predisposition to cancer.
There is still much more to learn about Lynch Syndrome because those with Lynch Syndrome are also predisposed to other cancers. According to the National Institutes of Health, “People with Lynch syndrome have an increased risk of cancers of the stomach, small intestine, liver, gallbladder ducts, upper urinary tract, brain, skin, and prostate. Women with this disorder also have a high risk of cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) and ovaries.”
March was Colon Cancer Awareness month, and Baylor Health Care System’s research and treatment of Lynch Syndrome continues to be an important part of the effort to discover more about this disease.