Family Health History and DNA Testing

My sister and I both live in different states than my parents. While we talk regularly and have a good relationship, we have recently realized that in order to find out important things about my parents’ health, we have to ASK. This past fall, after talking with my mom for about a half-hour—just as we were about to hang up—she said almost in passing, “Oh, by the way, they found another spot on my back, I am going to have it removed next week.” This is the third melanoma spot she has had removed in the past 5 years.

It isn’t that my parents are hiding this from us, but they don’t want us to worry unnecessarily. I also think that it is part of our nature, to downplay our health, especially to those we love. We are always “just fine” and we “don’t need anything.” But as I have delved more and more into the shared space between genetic genealogy and genetic testing for medical purposes, one thing is very clear: it all comes back to family history. 

DIAHAN SOUTHARD (2016, June 13). Family Health History and DNA Testing [Blog post]. Retrieved from