Family Health History Month: Know your genes

 

This Family Health History Month, Invitae encourages all families to discuss their history of disease. Your family medical history provides powerful insights into your risk of developing certain medical conditions, which can help you create a plan for prevention or early disease detection.

Talking with your relatives about the diseases that are present in your family is very important, but some people are unsure about which family members to talk with, and what information to ask. We have some tips that may help you gather your family medical history.

If you identify medical conditions (for example, cancer or heart disease) that run in your family, talk with your doctor to decide whether genetic testing may be right for you.

In addition, Invitae is dedicated to ensuring that family members who need testing get testing. Research has shown that even when a disease-causing variant is found in their family, only a small percentage of relatives pursue genetic testing.1,2 We are trying to change that statistic. Invitae offers family variant testing at no additional charge within 90 days of the original patient’s report date for all first-degree relatives* of patients who undergo gene or panel testing for a hereditary condition at Invitae and are found to have a positive result. It is our hope that making genetic testing accessible and affordable for those who need it will result in improved overall health.

*First-degree relatives include the mother, father, siblings (full and half), and children of the original patient whose disease-causing variant was found through routine diagnostic testing at Invitae.
1. Christiaans I, et al. Update of genetic counseling and predictive DNA testing in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Eur J Hum Genet. 2008;16(10):1201-7.
2. Sharaf RN, et al. Uptake of genetic testing by relatives of Lynch syndrome probands: A systematic review. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;11(9):1093-100.