Many things about you are partly or entirely determined by your DNA, and more specifically by tiny variations in sections of your DNA called genes, which you inherited from your parents. Your genes can also increase your risk of developing certain health conditions, including certain types of cancer or heart disease. Genetics is the study of these genes and of your heredity.
You may be referred to a genetic counselor by a doctor (such as an obstetrician, oncologist or medical geneticist) to discuss your family history and genetic risks, or before or after having genetic testing. While genetic counselors are not medical doctors, they are part of your healthcare team and work with you and your doctor to help you understand:
With expertise in counseling, genetic counselors can also provide emotional support as you make decisions and empower you with information for your overall healthcare.
For more information about becoming a genetic counselor, including why you might see a genetic counselor, preparing for an appointment and more, please visit NSGC's patient-focused site here.
For more information about the Genetic Counseling profession, please review the PowerPoint found here.