October is a busy month. Last week I wrote about it being Family History Month, but it is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This past weekend people all over the country walked for the cure. What does that have to do with genealogy? It is know that certain individuals carry a gene, identified as BRCA1 or BRCA2 which makes them more likely to develop breast cancer. The test for this gene is still quite expensive, however, if you have a family history of breast cancer, you need to discuss this with your doctor.
As I've written in the past, I am a huge proponent of creating a family medical pedigree. If your children are not interested in your research, you should still provide them with health information so they can share it with their doctors. As our children leave the nest, they may not have any idea of health issues in the family. My children all have called me to ask about family health when they were required to complete a profile for their doctor. They now each have a medical pedigree to share with their doctors that identifies health issues in the family. For example, breast cancer has not been an issue on my side of the family, however, on their father's side, they have an aunt, and two great aunts (one maternal and one paternal) who had early onset breast cancer.
For the last four years, the Surgeon General has declared Thanksgiving Day as National Health History Day. Last year I was a little late mentioning it in my blog, so this year I want to give you a head start. If you haven't recorded health information and cause of death in your genealogical database, now is your chance to go back and review the death certificates and pull the information together. That way, when you get together with your family for the holiday, you can share your information and ask questions where you don't have information. If you visit the Health and Human Services website you will find tools and resources to help you collect this important information. There are other sites with information as well, just search on "health history."