The holidays are a wonderful time for togetherness. Family from near and far all come together to celebrate the holiday season. You get together to share stories of what’s happened since you last saw each other and to share food, recipes, and gifts. Having so many of your extended family around is also a great opportunity to learn more about your family’s health history, especially from family members you may not get a chance to see or talk to that often.
Your family’s health history is important to each member of the family, because it can help you know if you may be at risk of developing a disease like cancer, or if a certain medical issue runs in your family like diabetes or high blood pressure. For instance, even without a gene mutation such as BRCA, having a family member or members that have had breast cancer or certain other types of cancer can increase your risk of developing it, and would be worth mentioning to your physician. If you have medical issues that run in your family, your physician may be able to recommend close monitoring or screening to check for those potential problems and help catch any abnormalities early on.
While talking about your health and your family members’ health can be a little awkward or uncomfortable for some people, you can always start with yourself and open up to them in order to give other family members the courage to share their stories. And, you never know, you may end up having a good time reminiscing about old memories and past family members and learn about more than just their medical history!