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Medical Edge: Colon Cancer

Updated: Monday, March 24 2014, 05:25 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- It was a routine colonoscopy where doctors found something suspicious.

They told the patient, Deborah Johnston, that tests has come back positive for colon cancer.  It was a big shock, Johnston says, because she had no symptoms.  She did, however, eventually find out her mother's side of the family had a lot of cases of cancer.

The good news is she has had initial treatment.  Johnston is now part of  study which may help her learn more about this disease and also all of us.  It's being conducted by researchers at Ohio State University and she's been able to participate right where she lives.

It is called the Ohio Colon Cancer Prevention Initiative.  I asked the principal investigator, Heather Hampel, to tell us more about it.

42 hospitals in Ohio are participating and Hampel said, "Where  we're screening every newly diagnosed colon cancer patient in the state to see if they have a hereditary condition that caused their colon cancer.  And that could run in their family and cause their relatives to be at risk as well."

That hereditary condition is often a genetic mutation known as Lynch Syndrome.  Lynch Syndrome is the most common inherited form of colon cancer and effects 1/35 colon cancer patients.

Family members, such as  Johnston's brothers, also have the option of risk testing for this syndrome as part of this trial.

"They haven't had anything done yet, but they plan on it, " Johnston said.

The goal is to find new ways to stop colon cancer before it ever starts. 

Follow Liz Bonis on Twitter @lbonis1 and LIKE her on Facebook Medical Edge: Colon Cancer


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