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National Family Health History Day Awareness

Thanksgiving Day is not only a time to gather with friends and family to eat a sumptuous meal and count blessings. It’s also National Family Health History Day on November 25, is an annual event that also takes place on Thanksgiving. The idea is to take a day when everyone in your family is assembled and discuss the family health history, specifically any occurrence of colorectal cancer. Healthcare providers encourage you to use this day to share and care about this and other serious diseases.


  1. Draw a genealogy tree

    Grab some colored pens and have poster board ready. This is a great day to put together a genealogy tree that adds information about the family's health history. Get the elders to provide as much knowledge as they can.

  2. Put together a binder of family health history

    Do it "old school" and put everything in a binder. Make colorful copies and distribute to everyone so all the information is accessible and easy to read for family members as well as health care providers.

  3. Assign everyone to write down any health concerns to share

    Before Thanksgiving, ask every family member (even the little ones) to write down whatever questions or concerns they have about the family's health history. You would be surprised at how curious children are about family history. On National Family Health History Day, take the questions out and start discussing.

    1. It's about family

      Family time is special and Thanksgiving is one of the most wonderful days of the years simply because everyone comes together to share a meal, watch a game, and rehash old family stories. But this year on Thanksgiving, also known as National Family Health History Day, spend some time educating each other. Young people often don't realize how important it is to know about hereditary factors that could cause trouble down the road when they marry or have children. This year, in between the pecan pie and kickoff, have a serious discussion about your family health history.

    2. Know the risk factors for colorectal cancer

      Colorectal cancer is a cancer of the bowels. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women and the third leading cause of cancer death for men. Some of the risk factors include obesity, diets high in red meat, age, sex, and most importantly, a family history of colorectal cancer. That history is increased when a first-degree relative including a parent, sibling, or child is affected. That's why it's so important to discuss family health history when the entire family is present.

    3. It's preventable

      It's important to note that many of the risk factors for colorectal cancer are preventable. However, the best way to get the jump on this disease is to have a colonoscopy. Screening guidelines vary for those with high risk, but most healthcare providers recommend earlier cancer screenings, especially when there is a family history of this specific kind of cancer.