SPONSORED: Genetic counselors help patients make difficult health decisions

By  | 

Sponsored - Genetic tests can explain who you are from the inside out: your looks, your personality, your health. They don't tell you everything you need to know, however.

"They might for example look at the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 genes, but oftentimes it's not a full analysis of those genes," says Marshfield Clinic Health System Genetic Counselor Anna Cisler. "And so with any results that come back, I would encourage speaking with a genetic counselor especially if you have concerns for a specific condition or health history in the family."

Genetic counselors decipher the tricky language you find in your results.

"We meet with an individual and we're looking for clues in that might suggest there could be an inherited risk related to developing certain types of cancer," said Cisler.

Cancer is one of the diseases that can be traced through generations, giving families a head start on handling it.

"Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, any of those that would be occurring under age 50, we would consider doing further evaluation with that family," said Cisler.

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your health.

"Their results from their genetic testing can impact decisions about their current treatment, sometimes it can impact decisions about what surgery or how much surgery to have as part of their treatment, whether or not there's a specific type of chemotherapy that might be more or less beneficial, whether radiation therapy is something to consider," said Cisler.

All options that put patients back in control of their care.

"We've definitely noticed an increase in referrals over time," said Cisler. "We're also working to educate other providers on who and when to refer and so with improved education over the years, that's also helping to get the right people here to meet with us to go through this process."

Those these might not be your favorite topics at the holiday dinner table, knowing your past is the key to keeping your future healthy.

This segment is sponsored by Marshfield Clinic Health System.