What Happens During A Genetic Consultation?
Ever since the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, medical professionals are better able to determine which genes may be a carrier or a source of a disease which can be genetic in nature. Patients who may be at risk of such diseases are given assistance in understanding the nature of their disease, how and why they acquire them if any, and how they can possibly avoid having such condition.
This process of discernment happens in a Genetic Consultation. During such consultation, the individual-whether single or a couple-may seek the professional help of geneticists or genetic counselors through having visits on a doctor's clinic, hospital, genetic center and other medical center. As it is a non-directive course, the person receiving the consultation service will neither expect nor oblige the professional handling the consultation to make the decision, after the result is made available. However, they may support them in reaching their own decisions after unique medical and social circumstances have been analyzed.
Because the consultation can be sensitive, the professionals handling the consultation may do their best to help the individuals go through a series of mixed emotions aroused by a diagnosis. People may have different ways of dealing with a result, and hence, the genetic counseling should be treated with sensitivity. Also, the diagnosis of a disease can have different meanings to different people.
During a genetic consultation, both the individual seeking the consultation and the professional handling it may ask specific questions and address specific concerns to help reach a goal-whether or not a person is a carrier of a genetic disease and whether or not it can be passed onto the offspring. The professional may even draw a family tree or diagram involving the immediate family and extended including grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts.
While drawing the family tree, a medical history detailing the family may unfold. This includes getting information such as the records of health information about the person and his or her immediate and extended family. It may also be that the genetic consultant, geneticist or counselor may perform a physical exam and recommend appropriate tests.
If any in the family has suffered a particular disease like tumor, a further investigation on the matter such as the age of acquiring the tumor may be crucial. If the individual has been diagnosed of a genetic condition, the genetics professional will provide necessary information about the diagnosis, which will include how it was inherited, the chances of passing such condition to the next generation, and the options for testing and treatment.
During the Genetic Consultation, the genetics professional will interpret and communicate to the concerned individual any complex medical information, assist her or him in making informed, yet independent decisions regarding their health care and reproduction alternatives, and of course, respect the person's emotions, traditions and beliefs.
The geneticists and genetic counselors will work with a healthcare team of clinical consultants, nursing and primary care teams and other healthcare professionals who have been trained in Genetic Consultation, in order to reach a professional and accurate diagnosis.