Lynch Syndrome, the Most Common of the Rarest

February 18, 2024

22 March is Lynch Syndrome Day, also known as Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer, so we will remind people that those who have Lynch syndrome have a higher risk of developing some form of cancer during their lifetime. Identifying people with Lynch syndrome is relevant, as these people have a risk of up to 80% of developing colorectal cancer. There is also an elevated risk of developing other cancers, such as endometrial (uterus), gastric (stomach), ovarian, small bowel, pancreatic, prostate, urinary tract, bile duct, sarcomas, brain, and sebaceous tumours of the skin.

Lynch syndrome is an inherited disease. This means it is passed down from generation to generation, from parent to child. If one parent has Lynch syndrome and the other does not, there is a 50% chance that their child will have it. It is among the most common hereditary cancer syndromes. It is estimated that 1 in 300 people have Lynch syndrome. However, most people do not know they have it. Indications that a family might have the disease is that on the same side of a family, there has been a diagnosis of cancer in multiple relatives. Besides, these cancers tend to appear at a young age.

This syndrome happens because of alterations passed down in genes that impact DNA repair, which is responsible for correcting cell DNA errors when copied. There are five genes implied in this, which are called:

  • MLH1
  • MSH2
  • MSH6
  • PMS2

For more information about Lynch Syndrome, visit here or here.


  1. Bhattacharya, P., & McHugh, T. W. (2020). Lynch Syndrome. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing.
  2. (2018, October 17). Lynch Syndrome.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, January 16). Lynch Syndrome | CDC.
  4. Abu-Ghazaleh, N., Kaushik, V., Gorelik, A., Jenkins, M., & Macrae, F. (2022). Worldwide prevalence of Lynch syndrome in patients with colorectal cancer: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Genetics in Medicine.
  5. The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. (2017, April). A beginner’s guide to Lynch syndrome [Review of A beginner’s guide to Lynch syndrome]. Lynch Syndrome UK.
Laura Urena

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