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IT'S JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG
Approximately ten percent (10%) of all cancers are hereditary. It is estimated many more are familial and 35% of all colorectal cancer is hereditary and/or familial. These patients need to be identified and receive more extensive cancer screenings. FIT testing (testing for blood in the stool) is not effective for them. We have most likely only touched the tip of the iceberg in respect to hereditary and familial cancers.
The field of genetics is pioneering and modern medical technology changes daily. What we do know, today, is with early detection and a good screening management program, coupled with prophylactic treatment, many affected by genetic defects, resulting in a high predisposition to cancer, can be saved as a number of the cancers are preventable and treatable before becoming life threatening.
Li Fraumeini Syndrome - Breast cancer before the age of 50, soft tissue sarcoma, osteosarcoma, brain tumors, lung cancer, adrenal gland cancer, leukemia and other cancers. Genetic defect in the TP-53 gene
Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome - HBOC High lifetime risk of breast cancer and of ovarian cancers. Prostate cancer in men.
Cowden Syndrome - Also known as PTEN, Creates a 10% risk to thyroid and a higher than average risk to breast and uterine cancers. It hasn't been extensively studied...
Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) or Gardner's Syndrome is a colon cancer predisposition syndrome in which hundreds to thousands of precancerous colon polyps (called adenomas) develop throughout the gastrointestinal tract (mostly in the colon and rectum but also in the stomach and small intestine). Attenuated FAP (AFAP) is a milder form of FAP and is associated with increased risk for colon cancer but fewer number of colon polyps. Gardner's Syndrome is associated with the typical number of polyps as in FAP, but also osteomas (benign tumors of the bone) and soft tissue tumors (called desmoids). A second variant, called Turcot Syndrome, is associated with certain brain tumors (different than in HNPCC-Lynch Syndrome). All forms of FAP are associated with mutations in the APC gene.
Von Hippel-Lindau Von Hippel-Lindau Disease (VHL) is a multisystem disorder characterized by abnormal growth of blood vessels (called hemangioblastomas or angiomas). Hemagioblastomas may develop in the retina, certain areas of the brain, the spinal cord and other parts of the nervous system. Other types of tumors can develop in the adrenal gland, kidney and pancreas. Individuals with VHL also have a higher risk to develop certain types of cancer, especially kidney cancer. Nearly all individuals with VHL are found to have mutations in the VHL gene.
Multiple Endocrine Neoplasias Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) syndromes received their name because they predispose people to develop tumors of the endocrine glands. The endocrine system is comprised of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream that control numerous processes within the body. The endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development and metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes.
The major glands of the endocrine system affected by the MEN syndromes are the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroids, adrenals and pancreas. Currently, there are two distinct MEN syndromes: MEN1 and MEN2. In some ways, the two syndromes are similar, but there are important differences.