To the editor:
During my journey through a diagnosis of advanced, aggressive prostate cancer I have been trying to let folks know the importance of passing on our family’s medical history.
David Young, editor of this esteemed publication, has joined me in this effort; a cancer survivor and all-around good guy, he knows first hand how important this issue is to generations yet to be born.
Many conditions have genetic components, to include but by no limited to:
· Certain types of cancer (breast and prostate among them)
· High cholesterol
· Heart disease
· Blood clots
· Depression (a medical condition we are just beginning to understand)
· High blood pressure
The United States Surgeon General has developed a tool to help us develop a family history; it can be found at: familyhistory.hhs.gov/FHH/html/index.html#.
“Using the My Family Health Portrait, you can:
- Enter your family health history.
- Learn about your risk for conditions that can run in families.
- Print your family health history to share with family or your health care provider.
- Save your family health history so you can update it over time.
Talking with your health care provider about your family health history can help you stay healthy!”
With the holidays approaching, a great Christmas gift for children and grandchildren would be a family health history. They may not understand it this year, but they will remember you after you are gone as a person who truly loved them and and provided vital medical information.
Good folks may not want to use a government site to record a family health history, that’s fine; use it as a template or make up your own, but please develop a family health history and pass it on.
Robert M. Traxler, Dorr