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Trevor Dermody
505-470-8573 Office

Family history of cancer or diabetes? Why you need to know

November 22, 2022 - Family Health - Awareness

SANTA FE — The Department of Health encourages families to take part this Thanksgiving in National Family Health History Day. While families are together, now is a good time to discuss shared chronic health conditions and any family history they may know about. These are important conversations to have, but in many families, they do not happen at all. The national recognition emphasizes asking about the incidence of colorectal cancers.  

“Talk to your family and gather your family health history this Thanksgiving; it could save your life,” said David R. Scrase M.D, acting Department of Health cabinet secretary. “Medical science has advanced greatly over the past 50 years, and today there are many tests that can be done to assess your own health risks based on your family history.” 

Here are a few tips on participating in National Family Health History Day: 

  • Draw a genealogy tree. Encourage family elders to share as much knowledge as they can. 
  • Put together a binder of family health history. Make copies for family members and health care providers too.  
  • Before Thanksgiving, ask family members to write down any health concerns they may have.  

The most common conditions that run in families are heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Life span can also be hereditary.  

Thanksgiving and Christmas are ideal times to talk about and write down the health problems that run in the family. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people have a family health history of at least one chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  

If you have a close family member with a chronic disease, you may be more likely to develop that disease yourself, especially if you have more than one close relative that has (or had) the disease. Remember, if you have a family history of a chronic disease, it does not always mean you will get the disease, but it is important to talk to your doctor about prevention.  

For more information about how to collect and save your family health history, the website My Family Health Portrait offers you as secure place to create a health history and learn more about your risk for conditions that can run in families. The website was developed in collaboration with the Office of the Surgeon General and the National Institutes of Health.  


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¿Antecedentes de cáncer o diabetes en su familia? Lo que necesita saber