2012-05-02 12:45:59 by Jill Chang - Patient, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.
I am 40 years old and have Lynch syndrome, an inherited condition that increases your risk of colon and other cancers. I am a twice cancer survivor - colon cancer at age 30 and endometrial cancer at 40. And for 40 years I didnít even know that I had Lynch syndrome.
I grew up knowing that I had a lot of cancer on my mom's side of the family, and always wondered why we had so much cancer, but didnít know why until recently, when I visited Akron Childrenís Hospitalís genetic center.
My mother, Karen, has survived four cancers - colon, breast, endometrial and lung. She is currently fighting lung cancer. All of her cancers were primary cancers. Thankfully, they have been caught at a stage 2 A diagnosis each time. My mother also has Lynch syndrome. My motherís twin brother died of melanoma (skin cancer) at age 40. And my brother, David, was diagnosed with colon cancer 5 weeks after I had my colon cancer surgery. He has Lynch cancer too.
My maternal grandmother, Ruby, had colorectal cancer three times in her life and also had breast cancer. We assume that she had Lynch syndrome. And the list goes on two generations above my grandmother. Wow, I know that sounds overwhelming. It is.
For a long time we were baffled about why this was happening to our family. Iíd always say, "I've got a great family, but sucky genes."Although I would say this, I didn't know what kind of gene contributed to these cancers and if there was a way for us to prevent it from happening.
Then, last March I was sitting in my primary care physicianís office for a routine visit and a poster on the wall caught my eye. I was drawn to it.
I had briefly heard of Lynch syndrome in a few conversations, but honestly didnít know enough about it. The poster really spoke to me with statistics like:
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