Lynch Syndrome Hereditary Cancer Awareness Day Recognized for the First Time in Michigan
Michigan Residents Urged to Collect Family Health History for Early Detection and Prevention
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2011
LANSING - For the first time in Michigan history, March 22 has been proclaimed Lynch Syndrome Hereditary Cancer Awareness Day. To coincide with Governor Snyder's proclamation, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), Michigan Cancer Genetics Alliance (MCGA), and the Michigan Cancer Consortium are encouraging residents to collect their family health history and take steps toward early detection and prevention.
"March 22, 2012 marks an important day in the history of family health preparedness," said Olga Dazzo, Director of the MDCH. "Lynch Syndrome is an inherited condition passed down through generations which can lead to cancer. By educating Michigan families on the risks of hereditary conditions, we can help residents create healthier futures for themselves and their families."
Lynch Syndrome can affect both men and women of any age or ethnicity; however, the risk for cancer increases with age. Lynch Syndrome causes up to an 80 percent increased risk of developing colorectal cancer with additional risks for ovarian, pancreatic and other cancers. Women with Lynch Syndrome have up to a 70 percent risk of developing uterine cancer. Further, it is estimated that 25,000 people in Michigan and 600,000 people in the United States have Lynch Syndrome and more than 95 percent are currently undiagnosed.
"If you have a history of cancer in your family, it would be wise to tell your doctor today," said Sherry Berry, a Lynch Syndrome cancer survivor and activist. "I've lost 13 family members to cancer on my mother's side, most of which were Lynch cancers. If we had found out sooner, some could have been prevented, and potentially saved. If I had known that I personally had an 80 percent chance of colon cancer, I would have checked earlier and more regularly."
Biological family members of a person with Lynch Syndrome are at significant risk for having the condition and may benefit from earlier or more thorough cancer screening. Julie Zenger Hain, MCGA co-chairperson states that, "Knowing your family history can help your physician understand whether you are at risk for these cancers."
"I, as well as my family, would like to commend the efforts of MDCH, Lynch Syndrome International, and Governor Snyder in the recognition of this day," said Trish Kraus, colorectal cancer survivor and Lynch syndrome activist. "As a survivor of such a costly hereditary disease, I know that through awareness, many ‘previvors' can take preventative measures to stop this disease. Don't fall victim as many of my family members have; get screened now."
For more information about Lynch syndrome or cancer in Michigan, please visit www.michigan.gov/cancer or www.lynchcancers.org.
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