Womb cancer patients could benefit from genetic screening

In collaboration with the Press Association

Women with cancer of the womb could benefit from screening for inherited genetic mutations that may increase their risk of other cancers, scientists have suggested.

The recommendation follows a study which revealed that around one in every 50 women diagnosed with cancer of the uterus has an inherited condition known as Lynch syndrome.

The inherited genetic disease, also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer, or HNPCC, can also increase the risk of bowel, ovarian and stomach cancers.

Cancer of the womb, or endometrial cancer, is the most common disease linked to the condition, said lead author, Professor Heather Hampel.

"It's important to identify women with one of these mutations because they have a very high risk for developing colon cancer, and they may not be aware of that risk," she said.

"Because this is hereditary, half of her siblings and children may also be at risk for the syndrome.

"For this reason, the relatives of a person with Lynch syndrome should also be screened for the responsible gene mutation."

The team recommended that relatives who have also inherited the condition should have an annual colonoscopy from the age of 25 and annual womb screens from 30.

The study was conducted by the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Centre and published in the journal Cancer Research.

Find out more about the causes of womb cancer

Find out more about HNPCC ('Lynch syndrome')