Few things are more jarring and stressful than learning about the presence of a hereditary disease in one’s family. While all unexpected medical diagnoses are difficult, knowing that the hereditary nature of these diagnoses puts other family members at risk presents unique challenges to coping, communication, and caregiving.
Dr. Lindsey Hoskins has an extensive background in Medical Family Therapy, working with families, couples, and individuals who have encountered diagnoses such as Huntington’s Disease, Familial Testicular Cancer, Hereditary Breast/Ovarian Cancer, Hereditary Colon Cancer, Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, Fanconi Anemia, and others. In families dealing with these challenges, individual reactions can vary widely, and talking together about feelings, fears, and plans can challenge family members’ sense of cohesiveness and solidarity. It’s quite normal to worry about one’s own health, as well as the health of loved ones.
Working with a knowledgeable family therapist can assist families in making decisions about who should undergo genetic testing, and when; how and when to communicate with children, parents, siblings, and extended family members about their risk; how to ask for and provide emotional and practical support during and after diagnosis; and how to advocate for the best possible care in the medical world.