You are here:
Home Individuals and Families Your Family Health History

Your Family Health History

Family Health History

What is a family health history?

Your family health history can help you identify whether you are at an increased risk of developing a genetic condition. It will include any information you can gather about illnesses and diseases that are present in your family. For instance – if your grandmother had breast cancer or your father’s sister had heart disease.

Printable Version: The importance of your family health history

How do I collect my family health history?

Start with yourself and write down;

  • Your name
  • If you have, or have had, high cholesterol, diabetes type 2 or breast, ovarian, bowel or prostate cancer
  • Your age when you were diagnosed

List your immediate family

  • Mother, father, sister(s), brother(s), children
  • Write down any health conditions they have had and at what age they were diagnosed (or age of death, if applicable)

Do the same for your partner’s family

  • Knowing your partner’s family health history is important if you’re concerned about what conditions your children may be at risk of

Talk to others in the family with whom you feel comfortable

  • Can they help you gather information about aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents?
  • Explain how the information you collect can be useful to future generations

Add to your list as new information is found

  • Don’t worry if your list is incomplete, you can add information when it becomes available
  • Keep the list for future reference

 

What do I do with this information?

Discuss the information you’ve gathered with your doctor. He or she will help you understand what the information might mean for you and your children. The information may also be beneficial for your other relatives.

 

Searching the internet for information about family health conditions

The internet has many resources available for those looking for information on family health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

 

It is important to note that not all information on the internet may be accurate and while it may be useful, a doctor should also be consulted for their expert knowledge.

 

The links below can help you find information about certain family health conditions.

 

Last updated: Sep 11, 2014