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What is Genetic Counseling?

The goal of genetic counseling is to help you learn more about the causes of genetic conditions (an illness caused by abnormalities in genes or chromosomes) and how they affect you.

As a genetic counselor, I can review your family and medical histories and figure out if you or your family members are at risk for disease. I can also offer information about genetic conditions and explain how they are passed down through families. As a genetic counselor, I will provide materials about testing options and give professional recommendations and guidance so that you can make informed choices or life plans. If it is found that you have a condition, I can direct you towards medical specialists, advocacy groups, support networks as well as any other resources you might need so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.

When might I see a genetic counselor?
You might see a genetic counselor in many situations, such as:

• Your family has a history of cancer
• You are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant and are concerned about the health of your baby
• Your baby had an abnormal result from newborn screening
• You, your child or a family member has been diagnosed with a genetic condition
• You are concerned that you, your child, or a family member has a genetic or inherited condition and would like more information
• Your family has a history of developmental disability, birth defects, and/or mental retardation
• Your family has a history of mental illness

To learn more about genetic counseling and how it can help prevent cancer, read this article published in the Post~Crescent. You can also download your own genetic counseling pedigree to determine your risk.

About Thea Johnson

Thea Johnson provides genetic counseling at Affinity Health System. Genetic counseling services include evaluation of personal and family medical history, risk assessment and genetic testing for patients.

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