MEDICAL INFORMED CONSENT
Genomic Testing Informed Consent: What You Should Know
Genetic testing may help to show if you’ve inherited a tendency to get certain diseases. A sample of blood or skin is usually needed for genetic testing.
A positive test result means that you have the mutation you’ve been tested for. If you have a positive test result, it means you may be more likely to get a particular disease than most people, but it doesn’t mean you will definitely get the disease.
A negative test result means that you don’t have that particular mutation. This may mean that the disease doesn’t run in your family. A negative result doesn’t mean you won’t get the disease. It only means that you’re not more likely to get the disease than other people are.
By looking at your family history, your doctor can tell if you’re likely to have a gene mutation that may contribute to disease. A disease might run in your family if a blood relative developed the disease at a young age or if several family members have the disease. People from certain ethnic groups may also be more likely to get certain diseases. If one of your family members already has the disease, that person should be tested first. This helps show which genes, if any, are associated with the disease.
If you think you may be at high risk for an inherited disease, talk to your family doctor. Your doctor will ask you questions about your health and the health of your blood relatives. This information will help your doctor find out what your risks might be. The information your doctor gives you about your risks can help you decide whether you want to be tested.
Here are some reasons you might not want to know that you could be at risk for a certain disease:
- You might not be so worried about getting a disease.
- You might be able to change your lifestyle to reduce your risk of getting a disease.
- Your doctor will know how often to check you to see if a disease is developing.
- You might be able to take medicine to prevent the disease.
- Testing may make you more worried about getting sick.
- Testing may give you stress or make you feel guilty .
- Testing could lead to problems with employers or insurance companies.