MyLynch, a cancer risk screening tool for people with Lynch syndrome, is the latest tool developed by the Bayes-Mendel Lab at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Lynch syndrome is the leading cause of hereditary cancers. It is caused by pathogenic variations on one of five genes: MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, and EPCAM. These variants significantly increase a person’s risk of several different cancers, the most well-known being colorectal and endometrial. Many more cancers have been recently linked to Lynch Syndrome, but clinicians may not be fully aware of risks and treatments because the research is so new.
MyLynch is a communication tool that aims to bridge the gap between people with Lynch syndrome and their family doctors by tailoring their individual risk profile.
“This tool helps users identify cancers for which users may be at risk, assess their chance of getting each cancer, and determine options for lowering that risk,” explains Stephen Knapp, MEng, lead developer. “Most importantly, the tool educates patients on their risks for cancer and what they can do about those risks. For example: taking aspirin, losing weight, or following through with scheduled colonoscopies.”
MyLynch creates a customized report to facilitate conversations between a patient and their doctor. These conversations may lead to increased cancer screening and testing, which is particularly important for patients who may not be treated by specialized oncologists. Because Lynch syndrome is hereditary, sharing this tool with family members, whether they have already been diagnosed or not, can be potentially lifesaving.
“This tool puts cutting-edge research at the fingertips of patients and their primary care physicians,” says Knapp. “It is our hope that MyLynch will improve the lives of patients and encourage people to talk with their family and their doctor about getting tested for Lynch syndrome.”
MyLynch may be accessed at http://hereditarycancer.dfci.harvard.edu/mylynch.