Updated: 04/02/2013 7:39 PM
Created: 04/02/2013 11:17 AM KSTP.com
By: Kenny King
(ABC 6 News) -- Emily Ruby and her mom Karen Sansom love to hit local shops, enjoying a hobby they’ve shared for years.
They also share a gene that runs in their family – it dramatically increases their risk of developing colon and some other types of cancer.
“There was a history of colon cancer in our family,” Karen Sansom said. They could trace that cancer back to Karen’s father’s side of the family.
Karen is also a survivor. So is 24-year-old Emily Ruby, who was diagnosed at age 19.
The condition they battled is called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, or Lynch Syndrome.
Lynch Syndrome is a form of hereditary colorectal cancer that runs in families. Those families are at risk not only of colon cancer but of a variety of other cancers.
If you have Lynch Syndrome there is a 50/50 chance you’ll pass it on to your children.
If you find out you have it, based on your family history or any kind of testing, you need to begin a very vigorous screening and surveillance program which includes colonoscopies starting at age 20 or younger, upper endoscopies to check for stomach and small bowel cancers; plus, early and regular screening for gynecologic and kidney cancer. The goal is to catch pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions early while they’re still curable.
Emily and Karen are both doing very well. In fact, it’s been 5 years since Emily’s diagnosis and she is now cancer free.
Emily was in college when she was diagnosed, but she didn’t let cancer stop her. She kept going through treatment, and got married afterwards.