Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. While most patients are diagnosed with the disease in their 70s, those with a heritable disease called Lynch Syndrome often contract colon cancer while in their 40s. It’s estimated that 2-7% of colon cancers are attributed to Lynch Syndrome, also called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
Scientists at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah have created a computer program that predicts the likelihood that individual Lynch Syndrome patients will contract colon cancer. Patients with Lynch Syndrome have gene(s) that are defective in repairing errors that arise in their genetic blueprint. The computer program assesses single mutations for the level of risk it poses in cancer development. The recommendation is that patients with a high level of risk would undergo colon cancer screening at an early age.
Listen to the full story by Jessica Gail.
Summary by Julie Kiefer