$500k Grant Given for Lynch Syndrome Education and Assessment Program

Recently, the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara (CFSB) was given a $500,000 grant courtesy of the Dr. Howard R. Bierman and Anthony Granatelli Fund. Altogether, the fund is designed to develop a genetic counseling program known as the Lynch Syndrome Education and Assessment Program.

The Grant

According to the CFSB website:

Since 1949, the non-profit Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara has been dedicated to ensuring the highest level of cancer care for everyone in Santa Barbara County regardless of means.

The Cancer Foundation is the exclusive fundraising partner of Ridley-Tree Cancer Center (formerly known as Cancer Center of Santa Barbara with Sansum Clinic).

Now, this grant will assist with the development of the Lynch Syndrome Education and Assessment Program. Because not every patient fits diagnostic criteria, the grant offers a way for CFSB to fill an unmet need in this patient population. In addition to identification and diagnosis, the program will work to offer resources, education, and support to patients through genetic counseling.

The March of Dimes describes genetic counseling as:

[helping] you understand how genes, birth defects and medical conditions run in families and how they affect your family’s health.

Since early identification and diagnosis helps improve treatment and quality of life (QOL), this program could offer multiple benefits to patients. For example, using the grant funding, genetic counselors were able to:

  • Provide immunohistochemistry screenings for Lynch syndrome
  • Discuss options and the condition with patients and their families
  • Explain more about what a diagnosis means moving forward

Interested in learning more about colorectal cancer screenings at the CFSB? If so, please reach out to Lisa Winebrenner at 805-879-5678 for more information.

Read the source article here.

Lynch Syndrome

Also known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), Lynch syndrome is a genetic predisposition to various types of cancer. MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, and EPCAM gene mutations are all associated with Lynch syndrome. In these cases, the gene mutations are inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. Having this syndrome increases the risk that patients will develop cancers such as:

  • Urinary tract
  • Prostate
  • Kidney or liver
  • Stomach
  • Ovarian or breast
  • Colorectal

Perhaps most often, Lynch syndrome increases the risk of developing either colorectal or endometrial cancer. However, the other options are also possible. If patients with Lynch syndrome do develop cancer, this often occurs before 50 years old. In fact, this is one of the revised Bethesda guidelines, a list of criteria or signs that doctors can use to determine if a patient should be evaluated for Lynch syndrome. Other criteria include:

  • Developing multiple forms of cancer associated with Lynch syndrome
    • Note: This cancer can develop at the same time or patients can experience them at different times. However, if a patient has, throughout their life, more than one form of associated cancer, they should be evaluated for this condition.
  • A family history of Lynch-associated cancer in first- or second-degree relatives
  • Lynch-associated cancer with mismatch repair deficiency or high-level microsatellite instability

Occasionally, patients with this condition may also experience colon polyps. However, this is not true in all diagnoses. Treatment options include surgery and chemotherapy. Learn more about Lynch syndrome.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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