Genetic Counseling and Testing
Genetic counseling services explore your family and personal history to determine your health risks and recommend next steps. Genetics testing is a quickly advancing field used to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage inherited disorders.
If you have questions about your risk for developing an inherited disorder, or are worried about passing one along to your children, genetic counseling can address these concerns. By identifying hereditary disorders in your family, we can help you take proactive steps to decrease your, or your family’s, risk.
Genetic counseling starts with a meeting to review your medical history and your family’s health history and discuss potential risk factors. You may be referred for genetic testing, or if testing has been completed, learn about your results and options. If you have concerns about the possibility of genetic issues, discuss them with your doctor, who will determine if you should be referred for genetic counseling.
Genetic testing looks for variations within specific genes that may indicate an increased risk of developing a disease or passing on an inherited disorder to your children. Genetic testing may be used for a variety of purposes:
- Cancer risk - If you have a family history of hereditary cancer, you may be a candidate for cancer risk assessment. For example, a BRCA gene test can check for variants in genes that increase a woman’s risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.
- Family planning and pregnancy - If you’re planning a pregnancy or are currently pregnant, you and your partner may be referred for blood tests that look for abnormal genes that can cause your baby to have health problems. These problems include genetic disorders such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia, Tay-Sachs disease and fragile X syndrome. Your doctor will determine if you have risk factors that support the need for testing.
- Diagnostic testing - These tests are used to identify or rule out a specific genetic or chromosomal condition, or confirm a suspected diagnosis based on symptoms.