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Why should I know about genetic disorders in my family's history?

Carrie Bilicki
Oncology Nursing

By taking into consideration personal and family medical histories, a physician can identify patients at elevated risk and further discuss medical management options. These options can include increased surveillance and other risk reduction strategies. These options should be discussed with appropriate members of your health care team, which may include a genetic counselor, gynecologist, primary care provider, oncologist, surgeon, etc. Collectively, these specialists can explore with you how genetic and non-genetic factors contribute to disease and evaluate which options are most appropriate for risk management based on your personal and family histories.

Most families share common lifestyle, genes, and environment. These factors can provide information or clues about genetic disorders and conditions that might run in your family. You can work with your health care providers to examine any patterns related to certain disorders. Your provider can use the information to predict whether certain members of your family may be at risk for conditions like heart disease or diabetes. They may also be able to determine whether some are at risk for disorders related to gene mutations, such as Cystic Fibrosis.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.