Local News Doctors weigh in on pros and cons of genetic testing kits Brooke Hafs 5 – WGBA-TV

Posted: January 29, 2020 at 11:43 am

APPLETON, Wis. (NBC26) -- Genetic testing kits have grown in popularity.

Doctors say there's a time where it is appropriate to use them and a time when the information might not be sufficient.

At 59-years-old, Robin Vandermoss was diagnosed with cancer.

"It has tracked through my father and his father," said Vandermoss. "I just kind of want to put the puzzle together."

Now more than 6 months later he's undergoing genetic testing at ThedaCare.

"Hopefully we end up with some results that can be useful for my children and their children going on," said Vandermoss.

He's taking a route that doctors say is best under his circumstances.

As direct-to-consumer genetic testing kits grow in demand, doctors are informing people there are times to use them and times to seek an alternate route.

"If anybody has a strong personal or family history of cancer, heart disease or other conditions running in their family, then they really need a more formal evaluation," said Bobby McGivern, a Genetic Counselor with ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center.

Here's how these tests work.

You send a saliva sample in the mail. Your sample is tested in a lab and you receive your results revealing a plethora of new information about yourself.

Some examples of traits you can learn from a direct-to-consumer kit are:

Doctors say if you choose to use a gene testing kit that you've ordered online it's best to read the fine print.

Make sure you understand the capabilities of the test and look closely at the privacy information so you know what the lab is doing with your DNA.

Overall doctors say direct-to-consumer genetic testing kits have inspired a valuable trend.

"Families are talking more about family history," said McGivern. "They're asking some of the older relatives what is in the family, or maybe they're initiating some conversations with primary care doctors that they wouldn't have otherwise."

Use the kits wisely and seek a genetics referral from your primary care doctor if you have risk factors or a family history.

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Local News Doctors weigh in on pros and cons of genetic testing kits Brooke Hafs 5 - WGBA-TV

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