The recent flood of genetic testing options has increased both public awareness and interest in genetic information. While improved access to genetic testing is certainly important, not all genetic tests are created equally.
For example, depending on the laboratory and technology, the BRCA1/2 genetic tests that are associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancers can be incomplete. Even relatively benign information, like ancestry or non-medical traits, can be complex and may have unexpected implications, leaving test-takers unsettled.
Those interested in genetic testing should go into the experience informed. Genetic counselors are masters degree-trained healthcare professionals with the knowledge and expertise to help with questions about genetic testing and family history. A genetic counselor can evaluate the genetic risk for certain diseases, clarify whether genetic testing will be helpful and help interpret how the results of genetic testing might impact an individual or the family. Genetic counselors are also experts in genetic technology and can explain which tests and laboratories would provide the most useful information.
Source: ACT Genetics is an Idaho-based telehealth service employing licensed, certified genetic counselors for questions about genetic testing for cancer, neurodegenerative conditions and how the body processes medications (pharmacogenetics). For more information, call 208-912-7551 or visit ACTGenetics.com.