My advice for coping with Lynch Syndrome

In 2016, I found out that I had inherited a genetic mutation known as Lynch Syndrome from my mother, who’d died 26 years earlier from cancer. The news was overwhelming, to say the least. But now that I’ve been actively managing this hereditary cancer syndrome for nearly a year-and-a-half, I’ve finally made peace with it. If you’ve just been diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, here’s my advice for you. Follow the screening recommendations For people with Lynch Syndrome, cancer screenings should begin in the early 20s. I didn’t know I carried the mutation until I was 32. My first colonoscopy showed I’d already developed a polyp that was likely to become cancer. Thankfully, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers because colonoscopies allow doctors to remove suspicious polyps before they turn into cancer. I also regularly undergo other screening exams, including skin and ovarian screenings, as well as blood draws, ultrasounds and biopsies. I usually begin my screening process around the same time every year so that it’s easier to remember. I undergo all of my exams at MD Anderson, and they usually set up my appointments back-to-back to make it less complicated. Sometimes, I’ll get my skin checkups at MD Anderson in Sugar Land when it’s more convenient for me. I just make sure that I never skip an appointment. Stay vigilant I am very aware of the signs of ovarian, colorectal, and uterine cancers – all of which are cancers that run in my family. Ovarian cancer can be hard to detect, but I pay attention to my body and look for abnormal vaginal bleeding, bloating,...