November 24, 2016: Family Health History Day

WHEREAS, a family’s health history is a record of biological relatives from both sides of the family, that includes health conditions such as cancer and other common diseases, age of diagnosis in affected relatives, and dates and results of any genetic testing. Discussing family history with health care providers is an important step in understanding the risk for family members to develop the same disease and to determine appropriate preventive measures and management; and,

WHEREAS, evaluating aspects of family health history can help identify shared risk factors such as genes, environment, lifestyles as well as behaviors that predispose a person to common diseases like cancer. Timely knowledge of increased risks for chronic diseases such as cancer, coupled with early screening, genetic counseling and other measures can help with prevention, ultimately saving lives; and,

WHEREAS, cancer syndromes such as hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) and Lynch syndrome may be inherited from the mother or father. Families who are affected by cancer are more likely to record cancer diagnosed at age 50 or younger, and/or that affect more than one family member; and,

WHEREAS, in Michigan, approximately one in ten women has a significant family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, and would benefit from genetic counseling and consideration of further evaluation for HBOC; and,

WHEREAS, HBOC is commonly due to changes in genes such as BRCA. In Michigan, about 25,000 people carry a change in the BRCA gene, yet many of these individuals are not aware of their increased risk of cancer. Individuals with a personal or family history of breast, ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer should inform their health care provider to determine whether they may benefit from genetic counseling; and,

WHEREAS, approximately one in 13 adults has a personal history or at least one immediate relative diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and may benefit from screening for hereditary colorectal cancer. Lynch syndrome is the most common hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome and also increases the risk of endometrial, ovarian, pancreatic and other types of cancer; and,

WHEREAS, we join with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Surgeon General and Michigan Cancer Genetics Alliance to urge Michigan residents to record their family health history, discuss it with their health care provider, inform their family members of genetic test results, and take appropriate steps to know their risk of cancer and other common diseases in order to help save lives;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim November 24, 2016 as Family Health History Day in Michigan.