Sending Office: Honorable Chris Stewart
Every year since 2004, the US Surgeon General has declared Thanksgiving to be National Family History Day in an effort to encourage families to discuss and better understand their health history as they gather to celebrate the holiday. Learning about one’s
family history can be a lifesaving conversation. Medical providers use this information to assess the threat of developing a myriad of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and hereditary cancers.
It has been shown that predisposition to many of the leading causes of death in the United States can run in families from one generation to the next. Those who know about their increased risks are able to get more specific guidance from healthcare providers
about lifestyle modifications to prevent disease and early detection methods which lead to prompt treatment.
As we near Thanksgiving, I’d like to encourage all of you, as well as your staff, to begin this dialogue with your families. To help guide these discussions, I am including a
family health history tool and a
hereditary cancer quiz. The family health history tool can help inform the collection of vital health information across diseases and family members. And the simple, 30-second quiz can help you get the
specific hereditary information you would need to discuss your risk of cancer with your healthcare professional.
Last Thanksgiving, Congress was nearing completion of important bipartisan legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act. Consequently, researchers across Utah and the United States are able to access funding streams from the Precision Medicine Initiative, the
Brain Initiative, and the Cancer Moonshot to further their work fighting hereditary diseases. I am proud to represent a state where complex technologies are being utilized to find the best treatments for patients and avoid interventions that could be costly,
invasive, and ineffective. As we continue to unlock the secrets of our genes, research into precision medicine will become more essential in the pursuit of cures for many devastating illnesses.
Thanksgiving provides us with a unique opportunity to engage our loved ones as we gather around our tables to appreciate the abundance that we have been given. I urge you to take this opportunity to have this important conversation about family health history
with your loved ones. It could save your life or the life of someone you love.
With sincerest wishes for continued good health and a Happy Thanksgiving,
Member of Congress
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