Genetic testing is a medical test that can detect variations, anomalies, or mutations in an individual’s genetic code. Genetics determine everything about you and your health, from the texture of your hair to your likelihood of inheriting certain conditions. If you are struggling with your health, understanding your genetic code can help you reach a more accurate diagnosis or find a better, more individualized course of treatment.
Even for healthy individuals, genetic testing can be beneficial. For example, if you and your partner are trying to conceive, genetic testing can give you insight into your baby’s health, if they may be at risk of genetic disorders, or explain why it has been difficult to conceive.
When you hear about genetic testing, you probably think of conditions such as sickle cell anemia or Huntington’s disease. However, most variants are harmless. In fact, all of us are already born with genetic variations that we inherit from our parents.
Genetic variations can be inherited or occur over time. For example, as your cells replicate, they may mutate due to environmental factors such as UV rays or viruses. Discuss your concerns with your care provider.
Genetic testing may be used to determine an individual’s risk of developing certain types of cancer. With genetic testing, an individual can monitor for the early signs of cancer. Genetic testing can also help an individual and their health care provider create a plan of care and surveillance. This is especially beneficial for individuals with a family history of cancer. New uses for genetic testing like cell free DNA, looks for cancer cells in the blood before it’s detectable with imaging, or mapping the genome of a tumor to see what treatments would work best.
If you are interested in Genetic testing or have questions, Med City Nurse will be happy to help you.