Office: 535 Ocean Avenue, Portland, Maine 04103     Phone: (207) 518-6000     Fax: (207) 518-6001

March Is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know…

• There were approximately 143,460 new cases of colon and rectal cancer in 2012
• Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US
• An estimated 51,690 people died from the disease
• More than 1 million Americans are currently survivors of colon cancer
• Up to 24% of all colorectal cancer patients should be evaluated for having a hereditary syndrome

Hereditary Colorectal Cancer accounts for approximately 1 in 17 colorectal cancers. Lynch syndrome, also known as Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC), is the most common of the hereditary colon cancer syndromes. Individuals with Lynch syndrome have an increased risk of colorectal cancer – at least 25% by age 50 and up to 82% by age 70 and a risk of up to 90% to develop some type of cancer. The risk for certain other cancers, primarily endometrial (up to 71%), ovarian (up to 12%) and gastric (up to 13%) is also increased in Lynch syndrome. Mutation carriers previously diagnosed with cancer also have a significantly increased risk of developing a second primary (new) cancer of up to 50% within 15 years of the first diagnosis.

RED FLAGS: IDENTIFYING THOSE WHO MAY BE AT RISK. Please use the following criteria to help identify those who may be at risk for Hereditary Colorectal Cancer:

• You or a family member has been diagnosed with colon cancer before the age of 50
• You or a family member has been diagnosed with uterine (endometrial) cancer before the age of 50
• 2 or more people in your family (singe lineage) have been diagnosed with a Lynch syndrome-related cancer, including colon, uterine, ovarian, stomach, small intestine, urinary tract, brain or biliary tract
• Anyone in your family has ever tested positive for a mutation related to Hereditary Colorectal Cancer
• Anyone in your family has had multiple colorectal adenomas

Once a diagnosis of Lynch syndrome is confirmed, the following medical management options may help reduce cancer risk or detect cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage or even prevent it. Screening recommendations include colonoscopy every 1-2 years beginning between age 20 and 25, OR 10 years before the earliest age of a patient’s family member diagnosed with colorectal cancer – whichever comes first. A family history of colon cancer, you may consider starting annual colonoscopy after age 40.


If you think you may be at risk, you may complete a confidential, highly secure online quiz customized for Women’s Wellness that will send your results of the screen directly to Dr. Rainville. Click here to take the online quiz.

Women’s Wellness Staff will contact you once the results have been evaluated to schedule your consultation visit. Or if you prefer, you may complete a paper version in person. All patients are screened routinely at the office in according with ACOG’s guidelines for cancer prevention for women.