What Does Non-polyposis Mean?
Non-polyposis means a condition which is characterized by the absence of polyps altogether; or a very small number of polyps is present. It is a term used to in the mentioning of the cancer syndrome known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer syndrome (HNPCC). This syndrome is also known by the name lynch syndrome these days.
Lynch syndrome is a condition in which one inherits a tendency to develop colorectal cancer. Here, non-polyposis indicates that the colorectal cancer can develop in the absence of polyps; or it may develop when small number of polyps is present. This syndrome is seen to be running in the family. The cancer here usually appears in the right side of the colon. This syndrome may result in the development of cancer in a person at an early age and an age in which the cancer would not have developed otherwise in the absence of this syndrome. Such families can also get affected by other cancers, such as, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, kidney cancer, etc.
Symptoms Of Lynch Syndrome
In most of the cases, the colorectal cancer usually does not present with any symptoms in the initial stages. Actually, the symptoms are quite evident when the disease advances to quite a later stage. Hence, if one is suffering from HNPCC or lynch syndrome, it is better to get the screening and other tests done from time to time in order to detect any signs of the colorectal cancer at an early stage.
Some of the symptoms that may be seen are-
- Stool may contain blood.
- There might be long periods of constipation.
- There also might be diarrhea present.
- Bowel habits may show changes.
- Pain in abdomen with cramps might be present.
- The size of stool may decrease considerably.
- There might be other symptoms present like gas, bloating, feeling of fullness, abdominal distension etc.
- Vomiting and nausea.
- Lack of appetite.
- Unwanted weight loss.
Causes Of Lynch Syndrome
Lynch syndrome is an autosomal dominant condition. This means that even if one of the parents is suffering from lynch syndrome, it is possible to pass on the gene mutation to their children with a 50% chance. If one does not inherit a gene mutation, one cannot pass it to their children.
Diagnosis Of Lynch Syndrome
Early diagnosis is very important here. This will help in early detection and also prevention of this syndrome. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chances of getting a complete cure. The diagnosis can be done with the help of colonoscopy, barium enema and sigmoidoscopy. Colonoscopy however, is the most preferred method.
Genetic testing is advised to see which of the genes have undergone mutation. At present, five different genes are known to be associated with this syndrome. But genes other than these, which are still undiscovered, may also be responsible.
If a person has a cancer, then microsatellite instability testing is done if the cancer is associated with any of the five genes associated with lynch syndrome. This test is usually performed on the tumor present in the colon. If this test is positive, it I more likely that the cancer was caused due to the lynch syndrome. This helps in cautioning the other members of the family as well. However, if this test is negative, it does not necessarily rule out the chances of lynch syndrome.
Treatment for Lynch Syndrome
Different types of surgical procedures are available for the treatment of lynch syndrome these days. A part of, or complete colon may have to be removed, depending upon the condition of the person. With a proper discussion with the doctor, the most appropriate method of treatment can be decided.
Lynch syndrome increases one’s chances of getting colorectal cancer by inheritance; also it increases the chances of getting other cancers and very early in life too. Proper measures should be taken in order to bring down the risk, by consulting a genetic specialist.