Marquette, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder has declared March 18-24 as Lynch Syndrome Awareness Week, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is encouraging Michigan residents to talk to their health care providers if they or a family member have a history of cancers related to the condition.

Lynch syndrome (LS) increases a person’s risk for colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, pancreatic, urinary tract, skin and brain cancers. Because members of a family with LS may be diagnosed with different types of cancer, the connection between a hereditary condition and these cancers may not be immediately apparent. Being diagnosed with cancer at an early age and having several blood relatives diagnosed with the disease are important warning signs of the hereditary cancer-causing condition.

“If you or one of your close relatives has been diagnosed with colorectal, ovarian or endometrial cancer before age 40, we strongly urge you to consider cancer genetic counseling,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Diagnosis of Lynch syndrome is important for individuals with colorectal cancer due to higher risks of developing other cancers. A diagnosis is also an important step toward identifying measures that may prevent or reduce cancer risk for healthy family members. First degree relatives of individuals with LS have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the condition as well.”

Although LS is the most common inherited disorder that increases a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer, it is underdiagnosed and many people with LS do not know that they have the condition.

Michigan residents are urged to learn their family’s cancer history and talk to their health care providers to help identify their risk of developing the disease. National recommendations are for all newly-diagnosed colorectal cancer patients to be screened for LS.

Through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MDHHS is working to achieve the Healthy People 2020 objective of increasing the number of newly-diagnosed colorectal cancer patients who receive genetic screening for LS. To learn more, visit Michigan.gov/hereditarycancer.


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