Date of Defense
Donald Kane, Biological Sciences
Julie Zengar Hain, Oakwood Hospital
The purpose of family history lies in the context of preventative medicine. By defining an individual's or entire family's risk of certain diseases based on their family history, the goal of early detection, prevention, and treatment is sought. Family history comes in conjunction with other risk factors such as environment, diet, exercise, smoking status, etc. However, family history can be the strongest factor in the risk of developing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. The etiology of cancers are believed to be sporadic and due to multiple factors, but 5-10% of breast, ovarian and colon cancers are due to specific mutations that are inherited through the germline. Despite not being able to change one's genetic makeup, knowing the risk due to family history can help reduce it by taking preventative measures.
Berlasi, Umberto, "Family History as a Public Health Tool for Risk Assessment and Disease Prevention" (2007). Honors Theses. 141.
Honors Thesis-Campus Only