The words, “genetic testing” don’t exactly leave us with a fuzzy feeling. The thought of testing our own DNA can sound like a scary procedure. But understanding the details of genetic testing can alleviate any anxiety of it being a daunting process.
Science has advanced so much that this test has become the best way to determine whether or not an abnormal, cancer-causing gene runs in your family. Here is what to expect before and after a genetic test:
- Making a Decision – Before you choose to be tested, talk about the pros and cons with a genetic counselor as well as other family members. Don’t worry if you need a few sessions with your genetic counselor before you make up your mind—ask all the questions you can think of!
- Signing the Dotted Line – Before the test begins, you’ll sign an informed consent document, which states that you are 100-percent aware of the benefits and risks of testing. The main benefit of testing is knowledge, but genetic counselors want to be entirely sure that you’re aware that the process takes time and thought.
- Talking to an Expert – It’s fairly common for testing centers to require that you participate in a genetic counseling session, both before and after testing. Beforehand, the counselor will provide informed help as you come to terms with your decision.
- Understanding the Results – After your gene test, you will probably meet again with a genetic counselor or other healthcare professional to better interpret the results. Because the human body is filled with so many different factors at play, it takes a specific genetic expert to tell you if an abnormal gene runs in your family.
- Gaining More Knowledge – The main goal of this test is gaining knowledge. If you test negative, it means you are not at high risk. If you test positive, understand that you now know a little bit more about your genetic makeup. Unlike generations before us, we are now able to take steps that prevent cancer or detect it early if it does develop.