Sharing The Story With the World, Starting With Family

People often have a Utopian set of expectations whenever family reunions take place.  They envision a Rockwell painting where kids behave and adults get along.  In reality, you’re getting together with family you may or may not have seen in months, if not longer, and the actual reunion may not meet these expectations.  Often, one or more people may drink too much and/or say the wrong thing.  With that said, discussing your family history of cancer at the reunion, in my opinion, isn’t a problem because throwing some lighter fluid onto the family reunion fire seems like a good idea to me.  If nothing else, it gets people talking and begins a conversation.

It is important to understand that informing your family about Lynch syndrome and the associated risks doesn’t guarantee that everyone will go out and get tested.  There may be misconceptions about Lynch only occurring in people who have had multiple tumors, or at a certain age.  While obviously this not true, changing minds may not be easy.  But for everyone involved, especially the next generations, we should keep discussing the appropriate information about hereditary cancer and genetic testing with family members, because as they enter adulthood, the potential risks only increase. 

I’ve enlisted the help of my physicians in getting the word out, and sometimes friends of the family.  You’d be surprised who can influence a family member that may not be interested in hearing this information, so don’t be afraid to get other people involved.  It’s not an intervention, it’s a conversation.  At the end of the day, they are still family.  

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