People with Lynch syndrome have an increased risk of bowel cancer and cancer of the womb.
The condition is also known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
The syndrome also increases the risk of the disease reoccurring, but hospitals can screen patients to check if they are at risk.
Bowel Cancer UK said that a lack of systematic testing means that 95 per cent of the 175,000 people with Lynch syndrome are unaware that they have the condition.
An estimated 1,100 cases of bowel cancer can be attributed to Lynch syndrome each year, with many of those affected under the age of 50, according to the charity.
The children and siblings of those with Lynch syndrome have a 50 per cent chance of having the condition themselves.
Those with the condition can benefit from regular monitoring and better awareness of symptoms of cancers that they are at increased risk of being diagnosed with.
There are no symptoms of Lynch syndrome, and sometime the first sign a person has Lynch syndrome is when the symptoms of bowel or womb cancer develop.
This will generally happen a a younger age than people whose cancers are not caused by inherited faulty genes.
Bowel cancer that doesn’t run in families usually develops in people over the age of fifth, however people with Lynch syndrome can be affected at the age of 40 or even younger.
Macmillan Cancer Support urged people to be particularly aware of symptoms including
– Blood in stools
– Diarrhoea or constipation
– Unexplained weight loss
– Pain in the tummy
If a person has a suspected cancer believed to be caused by Lynch Syndrome, genetic tests can be done.
Those who do carry the gene might need regular bowel cancer screening from a younger age – such as 25 – and women might need to be screened for womb or ovarian cancer.
Professor Nicoline Hoogerbrugge, head of the Radboud university medical centre expert centre on hereditary cancers, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, has said there is an ‘urgent need’ to find families carrying a mutation…