How to Create a Family Health History

How to Create a Family Health History

Information to collect:

  • Write down the names of relatives on both sides of the family (ideally three generations): parents, children, grandchildren, siblings, grandparents, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, cousins. (Accessing a family tree may be helpful)
  • Add for each person any information you have about their:
    • sex at birth
    • date of birth
    • ethnicity
    • known medical and mental health conditions and age of diagnosis
    • any other details about lifestyle, habits, environmental factors, results of any genetic testing.
      (If a family member is deceased, note age at time of death, any known medical/mental health conditions, and cause of death)

Start the conversation!

  • Identify the family members on each side (mother’s and father’s side) who might be most knowledgeable about your family members.
  • Let them know the reason you would like to ask them some questions and the kinds of information you are seeking. Give them some time to think about it or to collect info if needed.
  • Share any information you have gathered so far and then ask them to add more details where possible.
  • Some family members may be uncomfortable discussing these matters. Respect the privacy of your relatives as confidential information is shared. Let them know that having this information gathered will benefit ALL family members.
  • The information can be gathered in person, by phone, or in writing – whatever is most comfortable and most convenient. In cases where information is incomplete, just include what is accurately known. Do not guess.
  • Sometimes medical records and family documents like scrapbooks can fill in some blanks, as can public records.

What to do with the information you’ve collected:

  • Create a written document (or see below for online options) with the collected family history information gathered.
  • Share copies with other family members for them to share with their own doctors to inform them of their family health history.
  • Give a copy of the Family Health History to your doctor for their records and review it with them. The document can help your doctor look for early warning signs of disease and recommend steps for reducing your personal risk of disease.
  • Questions to ask your doctor about review of your Family Health History:
    • Does my family history put me at risk for certain conditions or diseases? Other members of my family?
    • Are there any screening tests I should have now or in the future?
    • Should I have genetic counseling or genetic testing?
    • What lifestyle recommendations do you have to reduce my risk?
    • What information should I share with other family members?
  • Be sure to update the records over time and provided updated copies to family members. This can be a valuable document for future generations as well.
Free online tools to help collect your family health history and share it with relatives and doctors.
Bag It’s 2019 Accomplishments

Bag It’s 2019 Accomplishments

Check out our video with accomplishments from 2019 and goals for 2020. We recently held an Unpacking the Bag event in both Tucson and Phoenix to connect with our volunteers, donors, bag recipients, and interested individuals. We mingled and then did a short presentation and shared some videos. Please take some time to watch this video and learn about all that you helped us accomplish in 2019 and how you can help in 2020. In addition to this video highlighting that information we reference our “Making the Most of your Bag It Bag” video and our new Informational Video. Find out more about Bag It today and consider ordering a bag for someone you know impacted by cancer.

Show yourself some love this month!

Show yourself some love this month!


 Healthy Lifestyle

  • Maintain your ideal weight
  • Physical activity
    • Walk, jog, dance, bike, swim – or whatever you like to do
    • Get up and move every hour
  • Diet
    • Eat lots of fresh vegetable and fruits of every color, whole grains, beans
    • Avoid sugar, processed meats, junk foods
    • Limit/eliminate alcohol intake
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco products
  • Avoid risky behaviors


  • Have regular check-ups with your primary care physician
  • Maintain good overall health to avoid viruses and chronic infections that increase your cancer risk
  • Get cancer screenings and cancer vaccines recommended by your doctor

Harmful Exposures

  • Protect your skin from the UV rays from the sun. Use sunscreen and don’t use tanning booths
  • Steer clear of secondhand smoke and other environmental carcinogens

Want to know more? Check out these sites:

National Cancer Institute Prevent Cancer American Institute Cancer Research

Making the Most of Your Bag It Bag

Making the Most of Your Bag It Bag

Did you receive a Bag It bag? Want some tips on how to make it work for best for you? Want to know more about what’s in the bag? Check out this video and find out how to Make the Most of your Bag It bag, whether you are the patient, a care partner or just an interested friend.

Thank you!

Thank you!

2019 Donations

Thank you to everyone for their 2019 donations to Bag It. We are so appreciative of all of you and your generosity to helping those with cancer. You donated $190,582 last year which provides 4,765 Bag It bags. You are making a difference in the lives of those impacted by cancer!