Genetic Disorders That Increase Cancer Risks (Part II)

In a previous article, our medical experts here at New Hope Unlimited introduced our readers to genetic diseases that increase family members’ risk of cancer. To recap, a genetic syndrome, hereditary disorder, or inherited disease is any ailment arising from an abnormality in the genetic makeup of a person. Some individuals inherit genetic disorders from their parents, while acquired mutations in a preexisting gene or cluster of genes cause other genetic diseases. Such mutations can either occur at random or because of particular environmental exposure.

Today, we will continue our discussion regarding cancer-causing hereditary disorders. They include the following, according to Cancer.Net:

Juvenile Polyposis Syndrome

Hamartomatous polyps in the digestive tract characterize juvenile polyposis syndrome (JPS). Hamartomas are benign (noncancerous) tumors of normal tissue that grow in the intestines or other areas in the body. These tumors are referred to as “polyps” if they form within an internal structure, such as the intestines. The term “juvenile polyposis” suggests a specific polyp type found after examination under a microscope.

While most juvenile polyps are benign, people with this condition have an increased risk of digestive tract cancers, such as those of the stomach, small intestine, colon, and rectum.

Li-Fraumeni Syndrome

In 1969, Dr. Frederick Li and Dr. Joseph Fraumeni from the National Cancer Institute reported Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS) as a genetic cancer predisposition syndrome. The most common cancers diagnosed in families with LFS include breast cancer, brain cancer, osteosarcoma (bone cancer), acute leukemia, soft tissue sarcoma, and adrenal cortical tumors. There are also reports of increased risk for Wilms’ tumor, melanoma, and cancers of the esophagus, lung, stomach, pancreas, colon, and gonadal germ cells.

Lynch Syndrome

Lynch syndrome, otherwise known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, is an inherited cancer syndrome associated with a hereditary predisposition to various cancer types. To simply put, men and women with Lynch syndrome have a higher risk of colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, small intestine cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, and bile duct cancers.

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1

Masses or tumors of the endocrine glands (hormone-producing glands) characterize multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), which was first known as Wermer syndrome. The most common tumors associated with MEN1 involve the parathyroid gland, pituitary gland, and islet cells of the pancreas. Other MEN1 endocrine tumors include carcinoid tumors, adrenal cortical tumors, rare pheochromocytomas, and tumors in other areas of the digestive tract.

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2

Three main types of tumors are associated with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2). They include medullary thyroid cancer, pheochromocytoma, and parathyroid tumors.

MUTYH-Associated Polyposis

People with MUTYH (MYH)-associated polyposis (MAP) can have multiple adenomatous colon polyps in a lifetime. Moreover, these individuals will have an increased risk of colorectal cancer, especially without consistent monitoring with colonoscopies.

Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma Syndrome

Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (NBCCS), also known as Gorlin syndrome, is a hereditary condition in which multiple basal cell skin cancers mark. There are several other findings associated with NBCCS, including:

  • Jaw cysts
  • Abysses on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
  • Developmental disability
  • Calcium deposits in the brain
  • Skeletal (bone) changes

Furthermore, the appearance of a person with NBCCS may involve a larger head size, a rounded or prominent forehead, broadly spaced eyes, wide bridge of the nose, skin cysts, and small bumps on the skin called milia.

Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome

Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) puts men and women at a heightened risk for developing hamartomatous polyps in the digestive tract. Cancers of the breast, ovaries, cervix, testicles, lung, stomach, pancreas, colon, rectum, and others can develop from this hereditary condition. Without proper medical surveillance, the lifetime risk of cancer in those with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome may be as high as 93 percent.

Tuberous Sclerosis Complex

Distinct mutations in the skin, kidney, brain, and heart help distinguish tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) from other diseases. Seizures are a common complication, as well as learning disabilities. Though the overall cancer risk associated with this genetic syndrome is low, kidney cancer and a specific type of brain cancer called giant cell astrocytoma can occur in people with TSC.

Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome

People with Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (VHL) can develop tumors in multiple organs. VHL tumors include hemangioblastomas, which doctors identify as blood vessel tumors of the spinal cord, brain, and eye. Individuals with VHL also have an increased risk of developing a specific type of kidney cancer called clear cell renal cell carcinoma; a tumor of the adrenal gland called pheochromocytoma; and a pancreatic tumor type known as pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.

Werner Syndrome

Werner syndrome, also known as progeria and not to be confused with Wermer syndrome, is a genetic condition in which premature aging and an increased risk of cancers occur. People with this rare disorder experience usual growth spurts, often being shorter than others. Signs of aging — such as wrinkles, hair loss, and graying hair — can develop in their 20s. In their 30s, symptoms of Werner syndrome can include cataract development, type 2 diabetes, a beaked nose, skin ulcers, osteoporosis, and cancer.

Xeroderma Pigmentosum

Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) manifests through extreme sun sensitivity, leading to an increased risk of skin cancers. Neurologic problems are also common, including progressive vision impairment, learning disabilities, hearing loss, loss of some reflexes, neuromuscular degeneration, and tumors in the central nervous system. Those with XP are also highly sensitive to light, which prompts an increased risk of ocular cancer. There are also reports of a link between xeroderma pigmentosum and malignant (cancerous) diseases of the lips, mouth, and tongue.

Treatments for Genetic Disorders

Treatment and management strategies vary according to the specific type of disorder and the patient’s unique health needs. For example, a kidney transplant might treat an inherited disorder associated with a kidney defect. On the other, addressing inherited abnormalities in blood cell formation can sometimes require a bone marrow transplant.

Although most treatment strategies for hereditary disorders do not change the underlying genetic mutation, a new era in medical genetics is starting. Several new innovations for genetic conditions are currently undergoing extensive studies and clinical trials. Gene therapy, for example, has been a useful technique for combating a few of these disorders. This experimental approach involves altering a person’s genes to prevent, manage, or cure a disease.

Treatments for Cancer

When seeking a powerful ally against the war with cancer, choose New Hope Unlimited. Our combination of conventional and alternative cancer treatments stimulate tumor regression with minimal short- and long-term side effects, all while protecting healthy tissues and improving quality of life. Call 480-757-6573 now.

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