Free Online Tool Assesses Risk For Several Diseases

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Thanksgiving is not just a day of sharing thanks with family, but it is also a time of sharing vital family medical history.

Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute has developed a free, online assessment tool called Family HealthLink that allows individuals to enter their family medical history and determine their risk for both cancer and coronary heart disease.


Created by the Clinical Cancer Genetics and Medical Genetics Programs, the survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and provides a printable risk assessment that can be used for discussion with a physician or genetic counselor. “It is important that families take the time to discuss their health in order to better understand their risk for cancer and coronary heart disease and improve screening and prevention methods,” said Kevin Sweet, genetic counselor and director of the Family HealthLink project.

To access Family HealthLink, go to or call the Clinical Cancer Genetics and Medical Genetics Program at The James at 614-293-6694 or toll free at 1-888-329-1654.

In 2004, the U.S. Surgeon General declared Thanksgiving as National Family History Day to encourage Americans to learn more about their family histories while they are spending time together. Sharing family medical history information is important because it can help family members understand their risks for developing certain diseases such as cancer or coronary heart disease, which are the two most common diseases and causes of death in the United States.

Genetic counseling and testing is available to help families at higher risk for cancer or coronary heart disease. Anyone with a personal or family history of early onset cancer or multiple cancers in the same person or family might want to consider genetic counseling and testing. Likewise, families at high risk for coronary heart disease have similar risk factors.