Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Branch out when taking your family health history

Recent research suggests that we examine our family health history, we really need to branch out and consider both sides of the family tree. According to a new study, a deadly gene's path can hide in a family tree when a woman has few aunts and older sisters, making it appear that her breast cancer struck out of nowhere when it really came from Dad. As reported in the Baltimore Sun, "Family tree can hide breast cancer genes," the study suggests thousands of young women with breast cancer - an estimated 8,000 a year in the United States - aren't offered testing to identify faulty genes and clarify their medical decisions. Consequently, guidelines used by insurance companies to decide coverage for genetic testing should change to reflect the findings, according to study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel of City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif.

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