Why is genetic testing important?
Genetic testing actually has a lot of different potential applications. Some services use your DNA from a genetic test to determine information about you such as your ethnic origins. While these types of application can be enlightening and fun, genetic testing can also play a more serious role in an individual’s health.
When a patient completes a genetic test, medical providers can look at the information and build a more complete picture of the patient’s health. This is especially important when it comes to predicting and treating diseases that are hereditary. In some cases, genetic tests may be used to assess the risk of developing a disease in a child. Cystic fibrosis, for example, is hereditary, but in order to be symptomatic an individual has to inherent the abnormal gene from both parents. Someone who only inherited the abnormal gene from one parent may carry the disease but not know it and a genetic test could provide them with this information. Other diseases that are known to be genetic, like sickle cell anemia, can be diagnosed more quickly through genetic tests which then allows medical providers to formulate a more accurate treatment plan more quickly. When it comes to cancer treatment, genetic testing can play a big role in informing a patient’s treatment plan.