One valuable resource for patients with hereditary gastrointestinal cancer syndromes is The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Familial High-Risk Gastrointestinal Cancer Clinic.
The clinic, which is under the umbrella of MD Anderson’s Clinical Cancer Genetics Program, offers genetic counseling, diagnostic testing, cancer surveillance, and prophylactic surgery for these patients and their family members.
Y. Nancy You, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology and the leader of the clinic, estimates that she and her colleagues follow about 400 families with hereditary gastrointestinal cancer syndromes, including Lynch syndrome.
“Most oncologists might see only a handful of patients with Lynch or other inherited cancer syndromes, and without an established infrastructure, it can be difficult to identify these patients and provide comprehensive care for them across the cancer spectrum, from diagnosis to treatment to prevention and screening to research,” Dr. You said. “With this clinic, we have the infrastructure and expertise necessary to serve these patients and their families in a comprehensive fashion.”
In addition to Dr. You, the core faculty members of the clinic include Eduardo Vilar-Sanchez, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention, Patrick Lynch, M.D., a professor in the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, and Miguel Rodriguez-Bigas, M.D., a professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology.
“We are unique in this regard because we have a group of dedicated individuals who have focused their efforts on helping patients with these genetic diseases, which are relatively rare,” Dr. Vilar-Sanchez said.
The clinic also provides the means to conduct research into the causes, management, and prevention of hereditary gastrointestinal cancers. Current efforts enabled by the clinic include a trial of naproxen for the prevention of colorectal cancer in people with deficient DNA mismatch repair and the establishment of an online registry for communicating the results of genetic testing to as many at-risk family members as possible.
OncoLog, October 2016, Volume 61, Issue 10