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Disclosure: Family Health History

  • By: Amanda Carpenter & Kathryn Greene
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Communication in families about family health history is important for health decision making for the individual, couples, and the broader family unit. Disclosing family health history may be necessary for family members to become aware of health conditions including genetic diseases (e.g., Huntington's disease) and hereditary illnesses (e.g., predisposition to breast cancer), and individuals and couples who know their family health history may make specific life choices based on the information. Genetic testing also continues to advance its ability to identify the risk of carrying or developing an increasingly broad array of diseases. Several types of testing include prenatal (e.g., testing a fetus for Down syndrome), newborn (e.g., phenylketonuria), and late onset (e.g., breast cancer or Huntington's disease). These genetic diseases may be distinct from ...

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