People undergo genetic testing for a wide variety of reasons. No matter why you’re considering a test, it may benefit you to work with a genetic counselor while you plan the process.
We’ve put together a quick primer on what genetic counselors do and why many genetic patients benefit from working with them.
What Is A Genetic Counselor?
Genetic counselors are health professionals who have specific education relating to genetics and counseling. They build their education, skill sets, and careers around giving people personalized assistance making decisions about their genetic health.
These counselors use their advanced training in genetics and counseling to help offer their patients information about:
- Inherited diseases and conditions (and how they may impact a patient or their family)
- How genetic tests work, which genetic tests may be right for them, what information genetic tests offer, etc.
- How a family or individual’s medical history might influence the likelihood of disease occurrence or recurrence
The Benefits of Genetic Counseling
There are many benefits to working with a genetic counselor. It’s not always an end-all-be-all solution for every patient, but it is an opportunity for…
Improved understanding on the patient’s side
Everyone has been a patient somewhere at some point. If you think back to a time when you’ve needed information from a healthcare professional, what stands out to you about the situation? Was the doctor very helpful in explaining things to you? Or did you leave a little unsure of what you were just told?
Genetic counseling helps ensure that people can genuinely understand the information their doctors share with them. Beyond that, it helps inform them of information outside of what a doctor has the time to offer, too. Genetic counseling is an excellent way to improve your understanding of your options and status when it comes to your genetic health.
Early intervention (if necessary and/or desired)
Genetic counseling often helps people detect situations where early intervention may be desired. Not every situation warrants early intervention– and not every person wants it– but everyone should have the right to look into the option if it’s relevant.
If you ever come across a situation where early intervention could benefit your health, you may be able to root out the problem sooner with the support of a genetic counselor. He or she can help advocate for you and determine which steps are best for your unique circumstances.
Peace of mind
We all deserve peace of mind when we lay down at the end of the day. For lots of people, working with a genetic counselor is the key to unlocking that peace of mind.
Some individuals and families never need a genetic counselor to feel comfortable making health or genetic decisions– and that’s okay! But usually, genetic counseling can help ease your mind and minimize (or help you actively confront) your concerns.
At Tesis Biosciences, our staff is prepared to answer your questions about genetic testing and counseling. Reach out to us today to find out more about your upcoming genetic test or about genetic counseling options.