This coming Thanksgiving Day is also National Family Health History Day. As you sit down at the Thanksgiving table this year, think of all of your blood relatives -- grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins -- whether they occupy a chair at the table or not.
No matter what your emotional relationship is with them, you share a genetic connection with each one – up to 50% of your DNA with some*. And with that genetic link, there might be some genetic health issues, including hereditary cancer.
So, while you are making plans for Thanksgiving this year, make plans to speak up about family health history. It might be difficult finding just the right moment to start the conversation, but having the discussion just might make a huge difference in your health or the health of one or more of your kin.
Share the details of what you know and encourage your loved ones to share what they know and to be proactive in their own health care. Knowledge is power and it might potentially save a life.
Here’s the link to the Family Health History / Cancer Pedigree pictured above that you can download and fill out to share when you gather with your relatives. Maybe print copies for your whole family. And if there is any history of chronic disease and/or cancer be sure to share the information with your doctor or a genetic counselor.
And if you know my wife's hereditary cancer story, you will know why I created this pedigree and why I'm so determined as an advocate to get families to share health history openly and honestly.
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