An updated online first tool for assessing cancer and heart disease risk using household data | News, sports, jobs

Jared Ziegler has always been very health conscious, but he still lives with an increased risk of heart disease. After entering his personal and family health history into the Family Health Risk Calculator, a free online tool that assesses risks for a variety of cancers and heart conditions, he works with his doctor to stay one step ahead of any issues that develop.

Columbus, OH — A cutting-edge upgrade of an online tool developed by genetic experts and data scientists at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur J. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Soloff Research Institute (OSUCCC — James), Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is the first to perform an evaluation Complete analysis of an individual’s genetic risk of developing cancer or heart disease using personal and family health history.

The free Family Health Risk Calculator uses a combination of algorithms linked to the latest evidence-based genetics and genetics guidelines to determine your risk of a genetic predisposition to cancer or heart disease. At least 10 percent of all cancers depend on genetic risk, and the field of cardiovascular genetics is advancing rapidly, said Kevin Sweet, a licensed genetics counselor and professor of clinical internal medicine at Ohio State Medical College.

The calculator determines whether individuals have an average or high risk of developing cancer or heart disease.

“The goal is to identify people at risk before they even know they may be at risk for heart disease or cancer. Knowing you are at high risk gives you the ability to make decisions about your future to reduce risk or even prevent disease. It may lead to counseling or genetic testing, and a procedure more frequent health checks to stay one step ahead of any developing problems or implement lifestyle and diet changes,” said Elizabeth Jordan, MD, a licensed genetic counselor and associate professor of clinical internal medicine at Ohio State.

The first version of the tool was developed over 20 years ago and was an interactive booth in the lobby of OSUCCC – James. At the time, Sweet said, the tool was the first in the country to incorporate gene and guideline research into cancer risk algorithms. Subsequent editions assessed an individual’s risk of coronary heart disease. Today’s calculator uses the most advanced algorithms for multiple hereditary heart diseases and hereditary cancers and can be updated at any time to provide the most accurate risk for an individual.

“The latest version includes not only coronary heart disease, but also hereditary cardiomyopathy risk, hereditary aortic disease risk, or other arrhythmia syndromes that can cause sudden cardiac arrest and death,” Jordan said. For example, we are looking for familial hypercholesterolaemia, which is one of the most common hereditary cardiovascular diseases, affecting about 1 in 250 people. Not many people know they have this or how common it is. The calculator determines who is at risk of developing this disease. People who have it have up to a 50% higher risk of developing a coronary artery condition, so it’s crucial to identify and treat them early.”

The Cancer Assessment asks about incidence of common and rare cancer types and subtypes, including brain, spine, breast, colorectal, prostate, pancreas, leukemia, lymphoma, and lung.

Although Jerl Ziegler, 34, of Columbus, eats healthy and exercises regularly, he was concerned about his risk of developing cardiovascular disease based on his family history. He spent less than 10 minutes filling out a family health risk calculator and discovered he had a higher risk of heart disease.

“I think it’s very easy to avoid those tough questions about your health that you don’t want to face on your own, but eventually will catch up with you. Having a tool like this that you can easily package up yourself and bring to your doctor to prompt that conversation is very helpful,” she says. He said.

Over the next few years, experts plan to add other diseases known to have strong genetic components, such as neurological diseases and eye conditions, to the risk calculator.

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