Tuesday, March 13, 2012
How Good are Do-it-yourself Genetic Tests?
Today, direct-to-consumer genetic testing is available for anyone who is interested in knowing their risk for certain cancers like melanoma and breast cancer. In some cases, ordering an at-home test is just a few clicks away from your home computer.
While these tests may be easy to order online, deciphering the results are not as easy. Not every company requires testing be facilitated through physician or genetic counselors. Other companies do require that testing be sent through a provider. Not all providers ordering such tests may be adequately trained to interpret results and understand the current limitations and shortcomings of this testing. Such tests currently do not capture all heritable cause for disease and some providers and patients may overestimate clinical utility.
In fact, as more people have access to getting such genetic tests, researchers are trying to determine whether the general public is able to accurately interpret the test results without speaking with a qualified physician or genetic counselor.
While some researchers argue everyone should have access to their own genome information, they also acknowledge that interpreting the results can be confusing and, at times, alarming.
This article from the National Cancer Institute discusses direct-to-consumer genetic testing, the risks of genetic testing at home, and how the public is interpreting these results.
Would you want to know your risk for certain types of cancers?
Learn more about genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancers at the Abramson Cancer Center’s MacDonald Women’s Cancer Risk Evaluation Center.
Learn more about genetic testing for gastrointestinal cancers at the Abramson Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Cancer Risk Evaluation Program.
View the 2011 Focus On Your Risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancer – a conference designed to address the personal and medical issues facing those at risk for breast and ovarian cancers