When speaking to a physician, should family history only include first-degree relatives?

Dr. Ordway discusses what a family history should include. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript


A complete family medical history includes health information about at least three generations of relatives, including children, siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, grandparents, and cousins, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

When it comes to some conditions – like cancers – sharing details about even distant relatives can be important, according to the NIH. Having even a distant relative with cancer in their medical history can put you at risk of developing the same type of cancer.

Knowing your full family health history can help your physician decide when the right time is to do certain health screenings and testing, according to the NIH.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how many relatives to include in your family medical history.

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