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St. Luke's Offers Free Lynch Syndrome Screening

By Ken Dey, News and Community
June 1, 2012

 Funding Made Possible by Brian Olson Memorial Golf Classic

St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI) has launched a new program for identification of Lynch Syndrome - now any patients who have a colon or uterine cancer diagnosed at St. Luke's pathology will automatically have a screening test performed on the tumor to see if they are at risk for this hereditary cancer syndrome. St. Luke's is one of the first hospital in the nation to offer this free of charge to patients.

The testing is made possible by the generous support of the Brian Olson Memorial Golf Tournament. The tournament, now in its 12th year, donated more than $20,000 to St. Luke’s MSTI at the conclusion of the tournament on Friday, June 1. The proceeds from the tournament will help offset the costs of the test and continue to fund the distribution of free colon cancer testing kits. Since its inception in 2001, the event has raised more than $280,000 for St. Luke’s Mountain State’s Tumor Institute.

Lynch Syndrome is a rare genetic condition that causes certain types of cancer. For most people the risk of colon cancer is 2 percent and endometrial cancer 1.5 percent. For families with Lynch syndrome their risk for colon cancer is 80 percent and endometrial is 60 percent because they carry a mutated gene that does not repair their DNA properly. These rare mutated genes can be passed from generation to generation and often cause cancer at younger than expected ages. If health care providers know a family has Lynch syndrome they can offer them different options to prevent and detect colon cancer, which may include earlier screening than is normally recommended.

The Brian Olson Memorial Classic is now one of the largest third-party fundraising events for St. Luke’s MSTI. Brian Olson died in 2001 at the age of 39 from colorectal cancer, leaving behind a wife and two young sons. Olson was a long-time employee at Hewlett-Packard and very active in the community. After his death, many of his colleagues at HP and friends in the community started the tournament as a way to remember him and raise money for colon cancer awareness.

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About The Author

Ken Dey served as Public Relations Coordinator at St. Luke's from 2008-2014.