Family Health History

Did you know your family’s health history can affect your risk for certain diseases like cancer or diabetes? Family members share not only their culture, lifestyle behaviors and environment but also genes that may be risk factors. It is important to collect your medical family history from relatives, write it down and share with your healthcare provider. Family history can be used to estimate the risk of having an inherited disorder (a condition that is passed from parent to child). If risk factors are found, lifestyle changes, screening or other interventions may reduce the risk. For more information on family health history, check out the resources below.

Highlighted Resources

MDHHS Cancer Family History Guide

This Cancer Family History Guide gives healthcare professionals an easy, helpful way to determine if a patient needs a referral for genetic counseling or increased screening for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers and Lynch syndrome.

MDHHS Family History and Your Health Fact Card

This fact card from MDHHS promotes the sharing of your health history with your healthcare provider and family to help prevent chronic illness.

US Surgeon General's Family Health History Initiative

This initiative focuses on the importance of family history and encourages all American families to learn more about their own histories and provides a Family History Portrait Tool to track and share this information among family members.

Additional Resources

Cancer Family History Guide Instruction Card

This instruction card describes the use of the MDCH Cancer Family History Guide guide which is designed to identify patients at increased risk for one of two hereditary cancer syndromes: Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer syndrome (HBOC) and Lynch syndrome.

Cancer Genomics Resources Order Form

Order these great informational MDCH cancer genomics resources including; family history fact cards, the cancer family history guide and informed consent booklet.

MDHHS Cancer and Family Health History Fact Card

This fact card from MDHHS promotes the sharing of your health history with your healthcare provider and family to help prevent cancer.

Public Health Genomics Resources Order Form

Order these public health genomics resources from the MDHHS Birth Defects Prevention and Newborn Screening programs with additional information on genetic counseling and family history.

CDC Family History Public Health Initiative

In 2002, the Office of Public Health Genomics (OPHG) started the Family History Public Health Initiative to increase awareness of family history as an important risk factor for common chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes and to promote programs aimed at reducing the burden of these diseases.

Developing Evidence: The Value of Family Health History

Webinar presented by Dr. Lori Orlando (Duke University) on family health history and MeTree, a "patient-facing family health history-based risk assessment and clinical decision support program." November 14, 2016

National Society of Genetic Counselors

The National Society of Genetic Counselors website provides ways to locate genetic counseling services, find publications and learn more about a future career in genetic counseling.

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