Genetic Testing -- Is It Right for You?

Article ID: 510410

Released: 11-Mar-2005 11:20 AM EST

Source Newsroom: Mayo Clinic

Newswise — Cancer seems all too common in your family, but should you have a genetic test to learn more about your risk?

Genetic tests offer a glimpse of what the future may hold for your health. But the look has limitations. Genetic tests can't tell you with certainly whether you'll develop a disease or how severe it might be if you do develop it. They can only tell you if you have a mutation that is shown to be associated with a risk of the disease.

Deciding to have genetic testing is complicated. That's why it's often recommended you consult with a genetic counselor.

The March issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource offers ways a genetic counselor can help:

*Research your family history and medical records to assess your risk of a genetic disorder or the likelihood that you carry a genetic mutation.

* Provide information on the benefits, risks and limitations of a specific genetic test.

* Explain the implications of a positive, negative or indeterminate test result, for both you and your family.

* Consider possible treatment options or preventive measures if a gene mutation is found.

* Costs for genetic tests can range from less than $100 to several thousand dollars. These tests may not be covered by insurance. Fortunately, many states have enacted laws that prohibit using genetic test information to determine eligibility for health insurance.

Here are highlights from the March issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource attribution is required. Also, you may reprint up to four articles annually without cost. More frequent reprinting is allowed for a fee. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Call toll free for subscription information, 800-876-8633, extension 9PK1.

Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource is published monthly to help women enjoy healthier, more productive lives. Revenue from subscriptions is used to support medical research at Mayo Clinic.

To subscribe, please call 800-876-8633, extension 9PK1.


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