Awareness Campaign Teaches About the Risk of Hereditary Cancer Based on Family History


The "What's Your History" campaign is intended to encourage and teach people to be proactive in learning more about their family's history of cancer.

Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation and Myriad Genetics have announced “What’s Your History” family history week (June 24-30, 2015), an educational campaign to help individuals learn more about the history of cancer in their family, which may aid them in the prevention or treatment of future cancers.

Approximately 5% to 10% of all cancers are caused by an inherited genetic mutation. Individuals with certain genetic mutations may be more likely to develop hereditary cancers, often at a much earlier age, than the general population. The “What’s Your History” campaign is intended to encourage and teach people to be proactive in learning more about their family’s history of cancer.

“My mother passed away from colon cancer, my grandfather passed away from brain cancer and my grandmother had melanoma,” said Michael Sapienza, founder and president of Chris4Life. “For me and millions of other Americans, knowing my family history could save my life. Knowledge is power.” (Click here for related video)

The FamilyHistoryTool is available on the Chris4Life website and is designed to help identify whether an individual is appropriate for hereditary cancer testing. The online assessment, which takes about 6 minutes to complete, guides individuals through a simple process to evaluate their family history of cancer and ask questions of other family members to uncover valuable details about cancers that occur within their family.

At the end of the process, the tool generates a family history chart that can be shared with healthcare providers. As part of the FamilyHistoryTool awareness campaign, Chris4Life and Myriad Genetics will host a virtual roundtable on Tuesday, June 30 at 7:00 PM EST to teach people about the FamilyHistoryTool and the importance of knowing one’s family history. The program will feature the Mayor of COLONTOWN as moderator/convener, a genetic counselor and two colorectal cancer patients with relevant experience to share. The program will conclude with an interactive Q&A session.

“Collecting family history information is an important way to help individuals assess their personal risk for hereditary cancer. The FamilyHistoryTool is an innovative tool to help people collect and share family history information with their healthcare providers,” said Carolyn Dumond, manager of patient education and advocacy at Myriad. “The FamilyHistoryTool can help guide medical treatment. In some cases, a strong family history of cancer may prompt genetic testing and counseling with a trained healthcare professional.”

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