CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A local man is speaking out about a genetic syndrome that raises the risk for cancer.
His cancer risk comes from what's called Lynch syndrome. He's trying to raise awareness about it with the help of genetic counselors and hopes it will build awareness into others' lives.
For years, Joe Schutte's family had been building into things in construction, but recently Schutte said it was time to build into his own health. Schutte's's mother has what's called Lynch syndrome. He said she had seven cancers in this year alone.
Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition that predisposes you to cancer. Karen Huelsman is a genetic counselor with the TriHealth Cancer Institute who helps families interpret testing for Lynch syndrome and says those cancers include:
"So we look for patterns of those cancers," said Huelsman.
If that pattern is there, testing is suggested for Lynch syndrome. It turns out, Schutte's tests are positive for it too.
"My MR2 genetic gene is messed up, and I'm predisposed to get cancer, I guess, the rest of my life," Schutte said.
He just had his first colonoscopy at a younger age than most to check for polyps.
"You can nip out those polyps before they become cancerous, so you are, in essence, preventing cancer," said Huelsman.
"I found out today that I had three polyps, and they were benign, noncancerous, so, yeah, it was good," Schutte said.
The reason Schutte is sharing this story is to raise awareness of the syndrome to encourage genetic testing for it. Huelsman says since there's a 50/50 chance of inheriting Lynch syndrome, genetic testing might also help ease someone's mind.
"Half of those relatives are going to find out they're off the hook. They have a background risk and they don't need all that extra screening despite the significant family history," Huelsman said.
In most cases, the genetic testing is covered for the patient at risk and associated family members. Click here to learn more about genetic counseling at TriHealth.