Genetic testing is vital in preventing major diseases such as cancer. It determines the treatment plan and if family members are also at risk of developing the illness. Genetic testing can provide insights into their risk of developing certain diseases and enable them to take early prevention measures. Although this is incredibly advantageous for ensuring one’s health, there are some things to consider before you consent to provide your DNA sample.
Although genetic testing is freely available for all, it is not for everyone. There are outcomes, motivations, and scenarios that one must consider before getting tested. Apart from consulting your doctor regarding any genetic testing decisions, here are 4 questions to ask yourself before being tested.
1. Why do you want a gene test?
Learning more about and securing your long-term health is certainly reason enough for a DNA gene test, but that can entail many things. Some want to determine their risk of certain diseases through predictive gene testing. In contrast, others are more interested in gaining information on potential lifestyle changes to lead a healthier life via fitness genetic tests in Singapore. There are no right or wrong answers to this question－it is entirely up to you.
Determining the answer lets you have a strong starting point. Once you have decided that genetic testing is the right choice for you, you might also want to know what type of test suits your needs. Understanding what you wish to gain from genetic testing allows you and your physician to choose the proper tests you need.
2. Do you know the limitations of gene tests?
Before getting tested, it is essential to understand that the outcome of gene tests is not absolute. For instance, if you test positive for higher risk of cancer, that does not automatically mean you will develop the disease. Similarly, if you do not test positive for it, that also does not mean you will not get cancer.
Furthermore, gene tests will often report their findings as ‘variations of unknown significance’ or VUS, meaning it is unclear whether a given genetic variation has any significance from a health standpoint. After getting the test results, there may be no way of knowing if they are potentially bad or good. Genetic counselors can help you navigate such situations but knowing such a possibility beforehand and gauging how you would feel is the best course of action.
3. How would you and your family feel if you tested positive on certain tests?
DNA tests can uncover markers on specific genes that show a person’s predisposition to develop certain diseases. This means the results could take a serious turn. Before submitting your DNA sample, take a moment to consider how you would feel if the test came back positive for your predisposition toward major diseases such as Alzheimer’s or cancer.
The findings may lead to potential overreactions from you and your family and unnecessary stress for everyone. You may also become constantly worried about a disease that would never develop. Due to this worry, you could also adopt lifestyle changes and follow treatments that may not result in anything substantial, ultimately wasting your time and money.
On the contrary, by understanding the limitations of genetic testing, you can get some helpful knowledge that could lead to positive changes, such as adopting a healthier diet or exercising more. It all boils down to how you think you will handle and react to the results.
4. If you already have the disease, how will you use the results from your gene test?
Genetic testing is not the golden cure to anyone’s health problems. There are indeed selective examples wherein certain biomarkers or gene tests can help guide decision-making in treatments. However, there is still the issue of insufficient reliable biomarkers for most health conditions and a lack of clear therapeutic alternatives based upon genetic differences for numerous ailments.
Taking a genetic test to know more about your health can undoubtedly provide the valuable information you seek. However, it can also bring about unwanted issues affecting you and those around you. Therefore, it is essential to fully understand what the test could bring about and be prepared no matter the results.