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Six Ways to Prepare for a Disaster

FEMA

First row: (from left) Deb Cross, Diane Schanke, Patty Comperini, Carlene Enama, April Schumacher, Dan Smith, Stacy Thiel, Tammy Hintz. Second row: (from left) Kent Katalinick, Traci Behnke, Laura Ruys, Tom Laabs, Robert Black. Back row: (from right) Brandyn Behnke, Linda Vanstippen, Carl Mohl, Joe Schweda, and Scott Thompson.

I recently attended a training program at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Ala. with 17 other Affinity employees, where we learned the appropriate skills on how to respond to, and manage, emergency incidents. We participated in a mock disaster where a group of domestic terrorists attacked a subway, causing injuries, death and disruption of daily life.

Training is the key to success and we were lucky to have been able to participate in a simulated terrorist exercise. I learned a lot of valuable information not only for our facilities but also for our community and the entire state.

I learned how to prepare as a health care provider, but there are also some things you can do as a community member to prepare for a disaster. Events can strike at any time, so having a plan in place can help make a difference. Red Cross gives a few ways you can help prepare:

  1. Make an emergency preparedness kit
  2. Create and practice your family disaster plan
  3. Have at least one member of your household trained in first aid and CPR/AED
  4. Know what emergencies or disasters are most likely to occur in your community
  5. Read through the appropriate disaster guides for your area
  6. Make an evacuation plan with a map and highlighter and determine two or three destinations and the routes to get there

Share what you have learned with your household, family members and neighbors. Encourage them to be informed.

For more information on the training program I attended click here.

What can I do to prepare for my cancer genetic counseling appointment?

At your appointment, the counselor will ask you questions about your family’s health history and your medical history. Here is some information that will help the genetic counselor work with you:

• He/She will ask about your own cancer experience, including type(s), part of the body affected and age of diagnosis.

• Have any other members of your family had cancer and what type of cancer did they have? Different types of cancer can run in families. To better understand your cancer family history, you should bring any medical records or pathology reports related to your or your family’s cancers or cancer treatment, if possible.

• What was the age of diagnosis for members of the family with cancer? Generally, the younger a person is when a cancer occurs, the more likely she or he is to have a form of cancer that runs in the family.

• It may be helpful to talk with your family about whether or not anyone has had genetic testing.

Not all predispositions to cancer can be identified by a genetic test. Even if a genetic test is available for a certain type of cancer, genetic testing is not helpful for all individuals.

Climb through your family tree to catch cancer early

Why see a cancer genetic counselor?
Some types of cancer run in families, which presents future generations with a higher risk of having those cancers. If you’ve had cancer at a young age, had two or more separate cancers or have several family members who have battled cancer, you may want to think about genetic counseling and perhaps genetic testing.

A cancer genetic counselor will evaluate your family health history and talk about risks for inherited cancer, as well as screening and management for those at increased risk. If genetic testing is available, the counselor will tell you about the tests and help you decide if testing would be valuable to you.

If you have had cancer, genetic testing may be useful to you and your medical team for making decisions about cancer management.

If you have not had cancer, these assessments can help you understand your risk for cancer and the risks for other members of the family. Continue Reading »

What is Genetic Counseling?

The goal of genetic counseling is to help you learn more about the causes of genetic conditions (an illness caused by abnormalities in genes or chromosomes) and how they affect you.

As a genetic counselor, I can review your family and medical histories and figure out if you or your family members are at risk for disease. I can also offer information about genetic conditions and explain how they are passed down through families. As a genetic counselor, I will provide materials about testing options and give professional recommendations and guidance so that you can make informed choices or life plans. If it is found that you have a condition, I can direct you towards medical specialists, advocacy groups, support networks as well as any other resources you might need so that you can make the best decision for you and your family. Continue Reading »

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