Genetics and Risk Assessment
Who can benefit from genetics services?
The number of diseases found to have a genetic cause is on the rise. However, family history of a disease does not always mean risk is high for everyone in the family. If you are concerned about your personal or family history, genetic testing may help you understand your individual risk factors and how others in your family may be affected.
"Hearing my results was empowering and unnerving at the same time. But, meeting with a genetic counselor added that objective and calming presence to a very emotional decision," Diann says.
Read her story
Our teams provide services to individuals identified as having an increased risk of a variety of genetic disorders. Examples include:
Hereditary cancers such as:
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Endocrine cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Renal cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Uterine cancer
Cardio genetics such as:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Neuro genetics and interconnective tissue disorders such as:
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Familial aneurysms
- Fragile X
- Marfan syndrome
- Loeys-Dietz syndrome
Types of Genetics Services
Our teams specialize in genetics and risk assessment. The services offered in our locations can include:
- Genetic counseling
- Risk assessment
- Genetic testing
- Explanation of genetic results
- Recommendations for surveillance
- Referrals to specialists for follow-up
Genetics Risk Assessments
A Genetics Risk Assessment has four components:
A genetic professional will help you complete a thorough family history. Based on this history, you will receive and education about reducing your disease risk factors and information about hereditary syndromes and genetic testing.
A DNA sample is obtained and sent to a specialized lab. The testing looks for changes, called mutations or variants, in your DNA. Genetic testing is not appropriate for everyone. To pursue genetic testing is a very personal decision. The genetic professional will walk you through the decision-making process and discuss the implications of genetic testing.
Results of genetic testing are reviewed with you in detail. Genetics professionals will discuss the results, help you understand what this means for you and your family, and how to talk to your family about your test results.
Our goal is to do everything we can to reduce your risk and that of your loved ones. Whatever your risk may be, you will receive referrals for everything from lifestyle changes to appropriate medical providers.
"We spend a lot of time with patients processing the medical implications, but also the emotional implications. We discuss how to talk with at-risk family members, what preventive surgery would entail, as well as how patients can manage risks in a way that fits their goals and philosophies."
- Genetic counselor at UnityPoint Health
Our Genetics Teams place the highest priority on maintaining our patients' confidentiality. No one except your medical provider has access to your records without your consent.
If you choose to have genetic testing, most health insurance companies cover part or all the testing costs. Insurance coverage is verified before proceeding with genetic testing.