Lynch Syndrome: The Genetic Side of Colorectal Cancer

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has designated March 22 Lynch Syndrome Awareness Day.

Her aunt died of colon cancer at age 72.  Her cousin died of colon cancer at age 49.  When her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 70, three years after being treated for uterine cancer, Paula realized it was time to act.  She had her first colonoscopy at age 41.  While the colonoscopy was normal, her doctor recognized that the pattern of cancer in the family was concerning and suggested genetic counseling.  Genetic testing in Paula’s mother found a mutation in a gene called MSH6, confirming that their family has Lynch syndrome.

Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition caused by mutations in any one of 5 genes: MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2 and EPCAM/TACSTD1.  For people who have a mutation in one of these genes, the risk for certain cancers is increased.  Colorectal cancer is the main feature of Lynch syndrome. Other cancers that can be found in families with Lynch syndrome include:

  • uterine or endometrial
  • ovarian
  • stomach or small intestine
  • biliary tract
  • sebaceous skin tumors
  • urinary tract, such as kidney

Identifying families with Lynch syndrome allows us to intervene with screening and preventive options.  Colonoscopies every year beginning at age 20 can dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer in people with Lynch syndrome. Continue reading

The new normal

In a recent segment of A Wider World shown on WTVS – Channel 56 in Detroit, Michelle Riba, director of the Cancer Center’s PsychOncology Program, along with Mel Majoros, a breast cancer survivor, athlete and radio show host, talk about the “new normal” after cancer treatment.

For more on Mel Majoros visit her blog, The Cancer Warrior.

Facing breast surgery? Here are facts to consider.

Maria Lyzen, right, and Ruth Freedman lead the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center's Breast Cancer Advisory and Advocacy Committee.

Maybe you’ve heard the recent news reports discussing second surgeries for women with breast cancer.

It’s an important, but complicated topic. So what do you really need to know if you or someone you care about is diagnosed with breast cancer?

Most women diagnosed   with breast cancer will have surgery. Many choose to have breast-sparing surgery or lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy. A lumpectomy removes the cancer, along with a small amount of normal tissue that surrounds it.

New research has found that nearly 23% of women have a second surgery, called a re-excision. Re-excision may need to be done if the pathology report reveals that there are still cancer cells at or near the area where the breast cancer was removed. This is what is referred to as a positive margin. The goal of a re-excision is to reduce the risk of breast cancer returning in the future. Continue reading

Skin cancer prevention: Teens may not be getting the message

When it comes to cancer prevention, there are no guarantees. Many factors beyond our control, like genetics, play a role in whether we’ll develop cancer in our lifetime. There are things we can do, though, to decrease the chances. Avoiding smoking — or quitting — is an example. Avoiding the sun (not tanning or getting sunburned) is another. Watch this video of people who either have skin cancer, had skin cancer or are remembering someone who has died due to skin cancer.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually. Continue reading

Read the latest issue of Thrive

The latest issue of Thrive, the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s patient publication, is now available online.

Check out our cover story about options available to women who would like to start a family after cancer treatment has impaired their fertility. The issue also features stories about helping children cope with their parents’ cancer diagnoses and 10 ways to make better decisions about cancer care. Our dietitians weigh in on popular supplements, and our art therapist discusses the benefits of spending time on creative projects.

Visit Thrive online at mCancer.org/thrive. Take time to browse our archive, too.

Check out U-M Cancer Center events

Jan. 13

Bandito’s Supports the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center
10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Bandito’s Restaurant, 216 S. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor

Mention the words “Cancer Center” when you place your order at Bandito’s, and the restaurant will donate 30 percent of your bill the the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Patient and Family Support Services Program. This offer is available for dine-in, carry-out or delivery orders. To learn more, call the restaurant at 734-996-0234.

Jan. 18

Acrylic Painting: Interpreting the Emotion of Color
11 a.m.-1 p.m. or 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
Level 1, U-M Cancer Center

This month’s Art Studio will focus on working with monochromatic color palettes. Participants will create a painting that is an exploration of one emotion. Additional materials will be available for creating multimedia paintings. This program, which is part of the donor-supported Art Therapy Program, is available free of charge to U-M cancer patients and their families. Space is limited, and registration is required. Please call 1-877-408-7377.

Jan. 21

Free Cervical Cancer Screening
1 p.m.-4 p.m.
U-M Livonia Health Center, 20321 Farmington Road

Cervical cancer will kill more than 4,000 American women this year, but proper screening can save lives. More than half of all cervical cancer cases affect women ages 30 to 55. Hispanic and African-American women are at highest risk. This free screening is open to any woman older than 21 who has not had a Pap test in the past two years and who does not have medical insurance that covers a Pap test. Call the U-M Cancer AnswerLine at 1-800-865-1125 to schedule an appointment.

Jan. 28

Tim O’Brien Trivia Night
O’Kelly Knights of Columbus, Dearborn

Compete for prizes at Tim O’Brien Trivia Night. Proceeds from the event–which will feature appetizers and pizza along with drawings–will support the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. Cost is $20. For more information or to register, email nmo1268@comcast.net.

Do you have a cancer-related event you’d like to promote? Let us know!