Lynch syndrome is a hereditary disorder of cancer, which is of autosomal dominance. This is caused by some gene mutation. This condition increases one’s chances of getting cancer, especially colon cancer and several others like endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer etc. this condition was previously known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer. Lynch syndrome is the most common cause of increased risk of colon and endometrial cancers.
Can Lynch Syndrome Cause Breast Cancer?
While it cannot be said that lynch syndrome causes breast cancer, it is found that in a number of cases of breast cancer, the genes which were mutated, were the genes that are linked with the lynch syndrome. Researches are still going on and evidences are available in many cases.
- Lynch syndrome also is associated with early occurrence of a cancer than is usual for that particular type of cancer.
- Some of the genes associated with lynch syndrome are MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2.
It has been found that women who have even one of the two genes- MSH6 and PMS2- are at a double risk of getting breast cancer. The women having both genes are at an even higher risk of getting breast cancer. More and more studies these days are finding new evidences which show a possible link of breast cancer with lynch syndrome.
Causes of Lynch Syndrome
Lynch syndrome is seen in the families with an autosomal dominant inheritance. This states that, if one of the two parents has a gene mutation for lynch syndrome, then 50% chances are there that each child may get the gene mutation. Gender makes no difference when it comes to the risk factor. Risk factor is same for both genders. There are some particular genes, that are responsible for correcting or repairing the changes in a genetic code. These genes are known as mismatch repair genes. In lynch syndrome, these mismatch repair genes are the ones that are affected.
Our genes contain DNA. This DNA carries a set of instructions for all the chemical activities going on in body. When our cells grow, they divide; and these cells make copies of their DNA and in this process, some minor mistakes can happen. Normal cells can recognize these mistakes and they can repair them. However, when the genes responsible for the repair and correction are damaged or mutated these mistakes cannot be recognized by the cells and the cells therefore, cannot repair these minor mistakes. The mistakes keep getting accumulated which in turn increases the genetic damage in the cells and eventually the cells become diseased and turn cancerous.
The signs that one may be having lynch syndrome are-
- Colorectal or endometrial cancer which develops before the age of 50.
- If colorectal or any other cancer develops, and when the cancer is checked, it is found to have mismatch repair deficiency or high-level microsatellite instability.
- If one develops colorectal or any other type of cancer which is associated with lynch syndrome at a separate time or at the same time
- Immediate relatives suffering from colorectal or any other cancer which developed at an unusually early age for that particular type of cancer, or which is associated with lynch syndrome.
- Other relatives who might be suffering from the lynch syndrome associated cancers.
Even in absence of these guidelines, one may still be suffering from lynch syndrome. Hence, if there is a known history of someone in the family suffering from lynch syndrome or lynch syndrome associated cancers, it is better to get oneself evaluated by a genetics specialist.
Various researches these days are getting significant evidences that show a possible connection between lynch syndrome and breast cancer. It is important to get oneself evaluated for the same if there is any history of people suffering from lynch syndrome in the close or distant family or if there is an occurrence of cancer at an unusually early age.