Shouting the Importance of Genetic Counseling by a Certified Provider from the Rooftops
I’ve been a certified genetic counselor for more than two decades and have played several roles in the field: a pediatric/general genetic counselor; a creator and facilitator of a cystic fibrosis parent group; a founder and director of a cancer genetic counseling program; a clinical researcher, author, and lecturer; and, most recently, a founder and CEO of the first digital genetic counseling company. The common theme for me in all of these roles has been shouting, from the rooftops, about the critical importance of genetic counseling by a certified provider.
I chose to become an NSGC Digital Ambassador to continue to educate and spread the message of the importance of certified genetic counselors working with patients, providers, and the general public. I know that genetic counseling and testing can provide life-changing (and life-saving) benefits to many people.
What should others know about genetic counseling?
First, there is great benefit to having genetic counseling by a certified provider both before and after genetic testing. Genetic counselors can help you determine:
- if you need genetic testing
- whom in your family should be tested first
- which test should be ordered
- how/if we can get insurance to pay for testing
- the risks/benefits/limitations of testing
Most critically, genetic counselors help you interpret tests result accurately. We’ve studied what happens when test results are misinterpreted, and this can be harmful to the entire family.
I feel it’s important to educate and spread the message of the importance of certified genetic counselors working with patients, providers, and the general public. I know that genetic counseling and testing can provide life-changing (and life-saving) benefits to many people.”
Genetic counselors are also here to help you understand your options, not to push genetic testing on you. Some patients who have genetic counseling decide not to pursue genetic testing when they learn all of the information. Genetic counselors can help you make informed decisions about your options.
Lastly, not everyone who throws up a shingle is truly a certified genetic counselor. Do your homework and make sure you are seeing a certified genetic counseling professional. You can find one in your area by using NSGC’s free tool FindaGeneticCounselor.com.
Learn more about Ellen and the rest of our Digital Ambassadors here.