Gov. Mark Dayton has declared Thursday to be Lynch Syndrome Hereditary Cancer Awareness Day in Minnesota.
The genetic variation increases the risk for early colon cancer and other cancers. The governor’s proclamation notes that:
“Knowing one’s family medical history and consulting with a physician about when and how to get screened for colon cancer may be one of the most important things a person can do in prevention.“
Keith Warner of Vadnais Heights, whose own family has been wracked with cancer, is a strong advocate for genetic testing when there is family history of cancer.
Jeremy Olson of the Star Tribune wrote about Warner’s efforts to spread the word. Warner has had colon cancer twice and lost an adult daughter to cancer. His four surviving children have been tested for Lynch syndrome; three have the genetic variation.
Says the story:
Warner said he understands the guilt of being a parent who hands down a troubling genetic trait. But it is far from the only thing he has passed down to his kids. His advocacy for testing has also given them an early warning and an opportunity to prevent cancer or detect it at its most treatable stage.
“I think I’ve dealt well with what some people would call guilt,” he said. “I totally understand that I can’t do anything to change my genetic makeup. If it’s there, it’s there.”
But fears of genetic testing are common, and even some of Warner’s relatives shy away, fearing the results or possible discrimination by employers or health insurers, the story says.