Lynch Syndrome, or hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), is an hereditary disorder caused by a genetic mutation in which affected individuals have a higher than normal chance of developing colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, and various other types of aggressive cancers, often at a young age.

Having no gender, ethnic or cultural preferences, Lynch syndrome targets families, predisposing them to cancer at a younger than average age. Children of a Lynch syndrome parent have a 50% risk of acquiring a mutation. During their lifetimes, those diagnosed face up to an 85% risk of contracting colon cancer and, as well, women have up to a 65% risk of contracting endometrial cancers. An increased risk exists of contracting a number of other cancers including those of the stomach, pancreas, kidney/ureter tract, hepatobiliary tract, gastric tract, prostate, ovaries, gall bladder duct, brain, small intestine, breast and the skin..

  • In the United States alone, 600,000 to 1,000,000 people are projected to be affected by the Lynch syndrome.
  • Less than five percent (5%) are currently diagnosed.
  • Lynch syndrome is not a rare condition but an extremely underdiagnosed condition in which the cancers it creates are often quite preventable.

Lynch Syndrome is characterized by the following:

  • A cancer that occurs at an unusually young age compared with its usual presentation
  • The development of multiple tumors in a single organ, or bilateral development of tumors in paired organs
  • The development of more than one primary tumor of any type
  • A family history of cancer of the same type or related type in one or more first-degree relatives
  • A high rate of cancer occurrence in the family
  • Cancer occurring in an individual or within a family with congenital anomalies or birth defects

Understanding family history, regular screening and early diagnosis are critical for patients with Lynch Syndrome.


    Lynch syndrome is inherited through families. The first step of diagnosis of Lynch syndrome, in order to obtain provision of early and potentially life saving prevention measures, is by researching and documenting a comprehensive family history to present to one’s physician for assessment.


    The only known method of accurately diagnosing Lynch syndrome is through genetic testing. If the family medical history indicates three family members, two of which are directly related to a third, and who each sustained Lynch cancers, genetic testing should be discussed with one’s physician.


    Once Lynch syndrome has been diagnosed, a highly targeted screening and medical management program is essential and may be lifesaving. During routine surveillance screening, tumors may be discovered and are more easily removed or treated before becoming life threatening.