“I assure patients that knowledge is power,” says Jessa Blount, certified genetic counselor, “and they can take preventive steps through frequent screenings and family education.”

Learning about cancer risk: Screening for Lynch Syndrome

Laura Seeley Hr Cancer

Laura was surprised to learn about Lynch Syndrome and that she had it, but she is now empowered: She plans to follow her colon re-sectioning with annual cancer screenings.

Although Laura Seeley is a nurse, she had never heard of Lynch Syndrome, a hereditary cancer syndrome affecting one in 400 people. It was only after being successfully treated for colon cancer that she learned of the syndrome.

“My gastroenterologist read about my family history, with my mother, two uncles and my maternal grandparents all having colon cancer,” Laura says. “It was then that I did the genetic testing and discovered I had Lynch Syndrome.”

Early screenings

Both men and women with Lynch Syndrome have up to an 80% risk of developing colon cancer. Women also have an increased risk of uterine, ovarian and breast cancer.

“Patients diagnosed with Lynch will often feel guilty or depressed about what it means for their children,” says Jessa Blount, certified genetic counselor with the Sentara Cancer Network. “I assure them that knowledge is power, and they can take preventive steps through frequent screenings and family education.”

While most people schedule their first colonoscopy screening at age 50, patients with Lynch Syndrome often start annual screenings at age 25 to remove colon polyps and prevent them from becoming colon cancer.

Laura was surprised to learn about Lynch Syndrome and that she had it, but she is now empowered: She plans to follow her colon re-sectioning with annual cancer screenings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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