Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer
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Cancer is a malady that plagues the growth of human civilization and it attacks different parts of the human body. Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is a type of bowel cancer which deserves a mention in this context. It is alternatively called Lynch syndrome. This disease was named after Dr. Henry T. Lynch. It is caused by inherited genetic mutation.

The genes linked with this disease may lead to some other forms of cancer in the affected people’s body organs like upper urinary tract, ovary, small intestine or stomach. The genes that are affected are called repair genes which denote that they are capable of identifying and repairing damages to the DNA structure. When these genes undergo mutations they can not do their job and the risk of contracting cancer aggravates.

Lynch syndrome or HNPCC is a variant of inherited cancer that attacks the digestive tracts of a victim. The major body organs affected is the rectum and colon. This type of cancer is pretty common in the USA and around 160000 new cases are registered per year. This disease is divided in to 2 sub categories named Lynch Syndrome I and Lynch Syndrome II.

Causes of Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer

As a matter of fact, the variations of the MSH6, MSH2, MLH1, and PMS2 genes aggravate the chance of acquiring hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). These genes are engaged in the rectification of problems in the DNA replication process required for cell division. When these genes are affected by mutation they can not repair the mistakes in DNA replication. With the abnormal cells growing uninterrupted, the mistakes can result in unabated cell growth and cancer. However, all of the people carrying the mutated genes do not develop cancer.

The Lynch syndrome follows an autosomal dominant pattern for inheritance. It denotes that a single copy of the mutated gene is enough to increase the risk of contracting cancer in a person’s body. However, it should be noted that a person inherits the likelihood of contracting cancer but not the disease. Later he may or may not develop the ailment.

It is imperative to know what the severe consequences of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) are. People with HNPCC have 80% risk of contracting colon cancer for life. The majority of these cancers take place in the proximal colon. The average age for contracting this disease is 44.

Symptoms of Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer

The most prominent symptoms of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) are related to one’s excretory system. A person affected by this form of cancer requires going to the toilet more frequently than earlier. He may also suffer from constipation and diarrhea. Other significant signs are loss of weight and lack of appetite. Victims of the ailment may also complain about pain in the abdominal region.

For the diagnosis of HNPCC, genetic testing can be used but it is quite time consuming and expensive. The Amsterdam criteria are used as an alternative method of identifying cases of mutated DNA repair genes. However, it is not totally effective and fails to detect up to 30% careers of the cancer. As of now, the researchers are stressing on the combined application of MSI profiling strategy and immunohistochemistry for detecting mutation in repair genes.

Genetic testing and counseling are suggested to the families that fulfill the Amsterdam criteria, usually prior to the beginning of colon cancer.

Treatment For Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer

When a person affected by this disease develops tumors, he is given the same treatment as a person suffering from bowel cancer which is not inherited. Blood tests are used to identify the four rogue genes but rare forms of mutations can skip the test. People who have a history of HNPCC in their family need to undergo regular colonoscopy for tumor detection. The main option for treating patients suffering from this ailment is surgery.

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