Family history is a topic of huge interest for a large number of people in the UK, from watching shows such as ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ to finding out the names of distant relatives on sites such as Ancestry.com. What is less understood is the impact that our respective family history bears on not only our day to day lives, but our overall life expectancy. A staggering 3.5million people in the UK are affected by genetic and rare diseases, with millions of us more predisposed to serious illness. Genetics and hereditary patterns have a life changing impact on the quality of our everyday existence whether we know it or not, from hair and eye colour to cancer and heart disease risk.
The British Heart Foundation cites a family history of heart disease, the UK’s biggest killer, as a key risk factor, while high profile individuals such as Angelina Jolie have recently gone to the lengths of preventive surgery to combat an 87% chance of developing hereditary breast cancer. To that end, if the majority of the UK is unaware of their potential risks, how can people protect themselves from future occurrences of serious illness?
Recognising the importance of family medical history on our current and future health, ANCON Medical has commissioned nationally representative research to better understand how the nation’s hereditary influences are affecting the course of our future.
|Key Statistics 23% of UK adults are aware of a family history of cancer but have taken no steps to reduce their risk of developing that cancer|
|55% of the UK have at least one parent or grandparent who has had cancer|
|29% of the UK have no idea whether or not they have any family history of cancer|
|57% of the UK know nothing about the medical history of their grandparents or great-grandparents|
|21% know nothing about their parents’ medical history|
|20% of the UK have never looked into a family history of cancer despite serious symptoms|
|Only 37% of the UK regularly carry out the recommended cancer checks to ensure cancer is caught early (Men – 26%, Women – 48%)|
|26% of people have made lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of hereditary diseases|
|Just 4% of the UK have carried out genetic testing to find out their predispositions to disease|