Memorial Sloan Kettering gastroenterologist Arnold Markowitz says that understanding a patient’s family history of colon cancer is key to diagnosing Lynch syndrome. Approximately 80 percent of people with the genetic mutations associated with Lynch syndrome develop colon cancer, which tends to occur at an earlier age and progress more quickly than in people with sporadic colon cancer. Annual colonoscopy, combined with upper gastrointestinal endoscopy every four years, is the most effective approach to screening for colon and bowel cancer in people with Lynch syndrome.
Researchers are currently investigating the effectiveness of newer, less invasive screening techniques such as chromoendoscopy, as well as cancer prevention strategies such as taking aspirin. Dr. Markowitz also discusses Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Hereditary Colorectal Cancer Registry, in which a multidisciplinary team of experts focuses on meeting the needs of people with Lynch syndrome.