Your family medical history is a record of diseases and conditions that run in your family, especially among close relatives. A family history of breast, ovarian, colon, uterine, gastric, pancreatic, melanoma and prostate cancers can increase an individual’s risk for developing these cancers.
It is also important to realize that men can pass a gene to a daughter for breast or ovarian cancer and women can pass a gene to a son increasing their risk for prostate cancer.
Knowing your family history helps provide clues about your chances of getting cancer. You may share similar genes, habits, and environments that can affect your cancer risk. Telling your healthcare provider your family history is important. lt will also guide you and your healthcare provider in deciding what tests you need, when to start, and how often to be tested. Knowing your family history also helps you and your healthcare provider decide if genetic counseling or testing may be right for you. While genetic counseling and testing are not recommended for all individuals, it is important for all individuals to know their family history.
Individuals with no family history may still get cancer. You are considered to be at average risk of developing hereditary cancers if you do not have a family history of these cancers. So you should get screened regularly for breast, uterine, ovarian, prostate, skin and colorectal cancers. Knowing your farily history will help you and your healthcare provider make decisions about when and how often to get screened.
As you work through your own Family History, you’re aiming for complete information. Gather information about your Father and Mother’s side of the family going back three generations: