BRCA & Lynch Syndrome

Both BRCA and Lynch Syndrome are hereditary gene mutations that can increase a person’s risk of developing certain cancers. BRCA is named for its link to breast (BR) cancer (CA) but has also been connected to other malignancies such as ovarian cancer. Lynch Syndrome is primarily associated with colorectal and uterine cancers but has also been found in other organs.

Causes of BRCA & Lynch Syndrome

BRCA and Lynch Syndrome are genetic mutations and therefore inherited at birth. If you have either mutation, there is a 50% chance that you will pass it on to your child. BRCA and Lynch Syndrome can affect both men and women equally. While having either mutation does not guarantee that you will develop cancer, it does increase your lifetime risk.

Do BRCA & Lynch Syndrome Have Symptoms?

As gene mutations, BRCA and Lynch Syndrome present no symptoms. However, the symptoms of the cancers linked to these conditions are as follows:

Breast Cancer

  • A new lump in the breast or underarm
  • Thickening or swelling in part of the breast
  • Irritation or dimpling of skin on the breast
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or breast
  • Any unusual change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Pain in any area of the breast

Colorectal Cancer

  • Bloody stool
  • Unexplained diarrhea
  • A long period of constipation
  • Decrease in the size or caliber of stool
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Gas pain, bloating and fullness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lethargy and vomiting

Diagnosis for BRCA & Lynch Syndrome

Screening tests and genetic testing can be done for both BRCA and Lynch Syndrome. Special laboratory analysis of a blood sample or cheek swab can help determine if either of these genetic mutations is present.

Treatment for BRCA & Lynch Syndrome

At this time, there is no cure for BRCA and Lynch Syndrome. However, knowing you have one of these gene mutations can make early detection of the related cancers more likely. The earlier cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat.