The spectrum of cancers seen in a hospital based Lynch syndrome registry of mismatch repair gene mutation carriers was examined to determine the distribution of cancers and examine excess cancer risk. Overall there were 504 cancers recorded in 368 mutation carriers from 176 families. These included 236 (46.8 %) colorectal and 268 (53.2 %) extracolonic cancers. MLH1 mutation carriers had a higher frequency of colorectal cancers whereas MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2 mutation carriers had more extracolonic cancers although these differences were not statistically significant. Men had fewer extracolonic cancers than colorectal (45.3 vs. 54.7 %), whereas women had more extracolonic than colorectal cancers (59.0 vs. 41.0 %). The mean age at diagnosis overall for extracolonic cancers was older than for colorectal, 49.1 versus 44.8 years (P ≤ 0.001). As expected, the index cancer was colorectal in 58.1 % of patients and among the extracolonic index cancers, endometrial was the most common (13.8 %). A significant number of non-Lynch syndrome index cancers were recorded including breast (n = 5) prostate (n = 3), thyroid (n = 3), cervix (n = 3), melanoma (n = 3), and 1 case each of thymoma, sinus cavity, and adenocarcinoma of the lung. However, standardized incidence ratios calculated to assess excess cancer risk showed that only those cancers known to be associated with Lynch syndrome were significant in our sample. We found that Lynch syndrome patients can often present with cancers that are not considered part of Lynch syndrome. This has clinical relevance both for diagnosis of Lynch syndrome and surveillance for cancers of different sites during follow-up of these patients.