I am trying to ask the question "Are there any diseases that run in your family?". How is this best said in French, by a doctor to a patient?

Here is my best shot - "Est-qu'il y a des maladies de votre famille?". I have found "It runs in the family" written as "c'est de famille".

  • 2
    Cela ne concerne pas seulement les maladies, « c'est de famille » books.google.com/ngrams/… relate une particularité partagée par les membres de sa famille.
    – Personne
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 4:22
  • 3
    @Personne Indeed. I would even say that in English, "runs in your family" is not a great choice here. While it can mean having a history of disease, the idiomatic sense — une particularité partagée par les membres d'une famille — dominates. A talent for music, for example, "runs in the family". I think a doctor or medical form should say instead: "Is there any history of illness in your family?"
    – Luke Sawczak
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 16:01
  • @Personne: Bon commentaire. Ça serait encore mieux comme réponse. Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 3:33
  • @HarryAudus — french.stackexchange.com/users/848/personne?tab=profile
    – Personne
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


A practitioner would probably say one of those:

  • Avez-vous des antécédents familiaux ?
  • Y a-t-il des antécédents dans votre famille ?

Antécédents médicaux (shortened antécédents) can be translated by medical history, asking for antécédents familiaux ou antécédents dans la famille refers to medical history of one's family members.
It can be used in a generic manner, or asking for history for a given condition/disease such as in Avez-vous des antécédents cardiaques dans la famille ? asking specifically about heart diseases.

As mentioned by Oosaka in the comments, this phrasing is used only in a medical context.

  • Antécédents is nice. It somewhat implies the patient already has some disease so the doctor asks if the same disease or a similar one already appeared in the patient family.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 22:49
  • This is the correct answer, and the only answer the question needs as stated, but I thought I'd specify in case the questioner (or anybody else who comes here) has a more generic interest in the phrase "runs in the family": this answer only applies to a medical context. If you wanted to say something like "musical talent runs in my family" you would use "c'est de famille" or a periphrase (like "on est trés musicaux dans ma famille" or whatever).
    – Oosaka
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 11:44

De famille works in the idiom c'est de famille but not really the way you use it. That would mean the family as an entity has some diseases, not some of its members.

Here are a few suggestions:

Est-ce qu'il y a des maladies fréquentes dans votre famille?

Y-a-t-il des pathologies spécifiques à votre famille ?

Est-ce que certaines maladies sont plus fréquentes dans votre entourage familial ?

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