Ask the Doctor
September 24, 2013

Why is the doctor asking so many questions about my family?

Dear Doc,

I went to my doctor for a routine check-up, but I was annoyed by the number of questions he was asking about my family. I was the one in his office, but like he was more interested in my parents’ and siblings’ health. I simply gave him a few lies. Could that affect my assessment?{{more}}


Dear Trevor,

You bet it will!!

A proper review of your health status involves a good history, followed by an examination. Only by having a well-informed doctor would you get a diagnosis and information that would benefit you.

A doctor is one of the only persons whom you will easily give very personal information, even after seeing him or her for the first time. We have grown to trust our doctor and they are bound by an oath to respect that privilege. The information gathered by your doctor is not only restricted to your own personal history, but extends to that of your family. The reason is that there are obvious traits that can cause diseases in multiple family members and by knowing that, your doctor can predict the possibility of you having the identical disease. It is not unusual for many persons in the same family in the same or different generations to develop identical cancer. This is especially so for breast and colorectal cancers.

Know your family medical history well and you can benefit from the knowledge of their experiences, so that you can avoid them.

Remember that if your doctor makes a decision based on incorrect information and hence makes a poor decision linked to poor information, you will be the one who suffers the consequences.


SVG Cancer Society,
P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.
Phone: 526-7036