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What is hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)?

Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer is a genetic condition that leads many people to develop cancer. Also commonly referred to as lynch syndrome, it often puts you at a high risk for colon or rectal cancer as well as other cancers of the digestive system and reproductive system. If you have nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, you will need more frequent cancer screenings than someone with an average risk. You also may want to explore options of preventive surgery with your doctor.

Hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer, also known as Lynch syndrome, accounts for about 3% to 5% of all colorectal cancers. HNPCC can be caused by inherited changes in a number of different genes that normally help repair DNA damage.
 
This syndrome develops when people are relatively young. People with HNPCC have polyps, but they only have a few, not hundreds as in FAP. The lifetime risk of colorectal cancer in people with this condition may be as high as 80%.
Women with this condition also have a very high risk of developing cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus). Other cancers linked with HNPCC include cancer of the ovary, stomach, small bowel, pancreas, kidney, brain, ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), and bile duct.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.