Family History Trumps Genetic Testing

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

For the best clue about your future health, a new study says you're better off turning to relatives than to genetic testing.

Dr. Charles Eng, a cancer geneticist at the Cleveland Clinic, says a thorough family history is "the best-kept secret in health care."

The study, done at the clinic, found that genomic screening of 44 cancer patients and their spouses missed all nine people with a strong family risk of colon cancer. Dr. Eng says such tests take a broad look at DNA variations, but often don't include high-profile gene mutations.

A government survey estimates that less than a third of families have created a family health history. And doctors -- crunched for time -- seldom push their patients to change that.

Holiday gatherings can be a good chance to gather information.

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