Benefits of Genetic Testing
It must be appreciated that
- Genetic tests are employed to confirm diagnosis of a genetic condition and to help in the management of the disease..
- Uncertainty often leads to stress and the genetic test results can provide a much-needed sense of relief. Genetic testing and counseling help people to make decisions about managing their health care. Testing negative for an abnormality helps to avoid unnecessary check ups. Testing positive for a mutation enables a person to look for preventive or treatment options.
- Genetic testing helps to identify people who are more prone to develop a medical condition that may be preventable. For example, asymptomatic people with the BRCA gene mutation may opt to remove their breasts and ovaries as a prophylactic measure. Similarly, individuals with a family history of familial adenomatous polyposis have been saved by colonoscopy and removal of growths in the colon or by colonectomy. A smoker, with a cardiac family history, is cautioned well in advance to modify his lifestyle.
- Certain genetic screening can also help people to take decisions about having children. Some tests allow families to prevent passing on these problems to the next generation, by not producing children with incurable and devastating diseases or anomalies.
- Screening in new born children helps to identify a genetic abnormality early in life. This helps to start treatment as early as possible.