Did you know that if one or more of your close family members have had cancer, you may have inherited a higher risk of developing cancer, too?

That’s why an open conversation with family members could be the best thing you can do for yourself this holiday season, or anytime you gather with loved ones. Based on what you learn, a simple genetic test may be right for you—and could reveal actions you can take to better protect your health.

Why learn about family health history?

The tips and suggestions below can help you ask your family about their health experiences. Then you can:

  1. Share what you learn with your healthcare provider to ask if a simple genetic test, MyRisk® with RiskScore®, could identify steps that may help you get ahead of breast and other cancers.
  2. Or you can use our 2-minute quiz to see if you might benefit from genetic testing. If so, you could even connect with a provider via telemedicine to order your test.

Do it together. You can ask a family member to complete the quiz with you, or help you fill out the family tree on our downloadable Discussion Guide. Then bring what you learn to your next medical appointment.

Am I already eligible for a hereditary caner genetic testing?

You may already know enough about your family history to receive genetic testing. Consider taking the quiz right away if you have a history of cancer, yourself, or if any of your first- and second-degree relatives (see our list below) have had any of these cancers:

Tip: At any point, you can repeat the quiz to see if what you’ve learned has changed your eligibility for genetic testing—and even order your test.

Break the ice

Who in my family should I ask about breast and other cancers?

Start by making a list of all your close biological relatives—on both sides of your family.

  • All 4 of your grandparents, as well as all their siblings and half-siblings
  • Both of your parents and all their siblings and half-siblings
  • Your own siblings and half-siblings
  • Your children

Pass along the protection. Once you know if you’re eligible for genetic testing, you can share that information with everyone on your close family list. They may be eligible for genetic testing and a personalized plan of prevention to help protect them, too.

How do I start the conversation about my family history?

There are a million ways—find an option that feels natural to you and your family.

In-person or by phone

If you’re seeing your family or chatting with them soon, you could:

  • Share that you’re curious about your personal cancer risk but need some help with questions about family history.
  • Say that you’re not sure how to answer some medical questions as you prepare for your annual check-up.
  • Use a recent health event within your family as a stepping stone to ask about other family members.
  • Explain that any cancer in a close family member could increase your own risk, so you’re trying to learn what members of your family have experienced.
  • Try time blocking. Say “Do you have 5 minutes to help me with something?”

By text or email

Reaching out digitally is another great way to start—or follow up:

  • Hi [NAME], I’m checking into my risk of breast and other cancers, but I have questions about our family’s health history. Can you help me take this quiz? myriad.com/KnowYourHistory
  • Hi [NAME], it was great seeing you at [FAMILY EVENT]! Thanks for talking to me about our family’s health history. I wondered if you had more info around [TOPIC]? Knowing this will help me at my next checkup, when I ask about ways to help protect myself against cancer. Here’s the link to the quiz I mentioned, if you’re interested in taking it, too! myriad.com/KnowYourHistory

Tip: Print out our Discussion Guide to ask your family members to fill in your family tree with you in person.

When can I talk about this?

The truth is any time is a good time to raise your awareness of managing your cancer risk. But here are a few moments that help many people get the ball rolling:

  • Family gatherings like holidays or birthday celebrations
  • Preparing for an upcoming healthcare appointment
  • After a friend or family member has had a cancer scare
  • Embracing new year’s resolutions or other new wellness habits
  • Personal milestones like having children or turning 30, 40, or 50

Dive into the details

What should I ask?

Gather information about every cancer your biological relatives have had, including age of diagnosis, if possible. Download our Discussion Guide if you’d like to fill in a family tree with what you’ve learned.

Be sure to especially ask about:

  • Breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer
  • Male breast cancer or metastatic prostate cancer
  • Pancreatic, colon, or rectal cancer

Tips for a smooth conversation

  • Remember that different people have different levels of tolerance for talking about medical histories. Respect everyone’s boundaries.
  • Be prepared to explain why you’re asking for this information and why it’s important for you to see if you qualify for a genetic test that will reveal your personal level of risk—and steps you can take to help get ahead of breast and other cancers.
  • Remind your family member(s) that this information can be useful information for managing their health, too.
  • If you were adopted, see if your adoptive parents can share any information about your biological parents.
  • Keep in mind that it might take more than one chat, but you can always follow up later.

Know your risk. Plan for your future.

MyRisk® with RiskScore® is the only hereditary cancer test and risk assessment that gives more patients a personalized plan of preventive screenings and actions— to help you get ahead of breast and other cancers.1 And 90% of patients testing with MyRisk pay $0.2

Visit myriad.com/KnowYourHistory to take a quick eligibility quiz. Or download our Discussion Guide to fill out your family tree and bring it to your next medical appointment and ask if MyRisk with RiskScore is right for you.

  1. Myriad Internal Data based on MyRisk tests reported between September 1, 2021 and February 1, 2023, ordered for unaffected patients by OB/GYN and Primary Care healthcare providers.
  2. Based on Myriad Genetics Internal Data. Last updated 2023.