Lifestyle and cancer prevention with Lynch Syndrome

Lifestyle appears to play a limited role in the development of cancer in people with Lynch Syndrome, which causes an elevated cancer risk.
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Het Lynch Syndroom (LS) is een erfelijke aandoening en mensen met deze aandoening hebben een verhoogde kans op het ontwikkelen van bepaalde soorten kanker. Ongeveer de helft van de mensen met dit syndroom ontwikkelt dikke darmkanker en ongeveer 30 procent van de vrouwen met dit syndroom krijgt baarmoederkanker.

Genes and lifestyle

‘Studies conducted among the general population have shown that lifestyle has a role in developing cancer’,  says PhD Candidate Jesca Brouwer, a researcher at Human Nutrition and Health. ‘But not much is known about the role of lifestyle for people suffering from LS. The general view is that genes are the key factor, and lifestyle has little influence.’

So far, we have not found any other buttons we can push for people with LS

Jesca Brouwer, PhD candidate Nutrition & Health

Brouwer studied the link between eating behaviour, length and BMI in young adults and the risk of people with LS of developing certain types of cancer. ‘These are factors we know to have an effect on the development of cancer in people who doe not have LS.’

Contrary to her expectation, she discovered that lifestyle only plays a small part. ‘We only found a link with adolescent BMI. Previous studies have shown that smoking and a higher adult BMI increase the risk of cancer in people with LS.’

Same advice

The goal of this investigation was to develop possible specific cancer guidelines for LS patients based on the outcomes. ‘However, so far, we have not found any other buttons we can push for people with LS. So there is no reason to provide this target group with specific lifestyle guidelines to prevent cancer. It is yet unclear to what extent this group’s lifestyle influences the occurrence of cancer. This would require further research.’

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