Put Genetics into Perspective
According to the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC):
… work as members of a healthcare team, providing individuals and families with information on the nature, inheritance, and implications of genetic disorders to help them make informed medical and personal decisions.
… identify individuals and/or families who may have or be at risk for a genetic condition, investigate the problem present in the family, interpret information about the disorder, analyze inheritance patterns and risks of occurrence or recurrence, and review available options with the individual/family in a manner that promotes informed choice.
… help people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological, and familial implications of how genetics contributes to disease.
… guide individuals/families in discussions about test result interpretation, prevention, medical management, and options for prenatal diagnosis.
… provide supportive counselling to individuals/families with sensitivity to ethnic and cultural diversity and they address potential ethical issues.
- You are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant and have questions about your baby inheriting a condition.
- You are struggling with infertility and are wondering what genetic testing might tell you.
- You, your child, or a family member were diagnosed with or suspected of having a genetic condition.
- You have a family history of cancer or a health issue such as Alzheimer’s disease, a heart disorder, or another genetic condition, and you are wondering if you or your family members might inherit it.
(source: NSGC 2017). Your doctor can refer you to a genetic counsellor by finding a local clinic here
Outside of the clinic, genetic counsellors can also work at laboratories, as they do , here, at LifeLabs Genetics. Our genetic counsellors are experienced, bilingual, and certified by the CAGC. They are supportive, friendly, knowledgeable professionals who can help you understand what genetic options exist, the ordering process, the results, and how to move forward.
The team guides patients and healthcare providers on test selection and ordering, explains risks and limitations of genetic testing, and gathers medical and family information to assist in results interpretation, and much more.
FORMAL GENETIC COUNSELLING AVAILABILITY FOR SPECIFIC TESTS
|Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (BRCA 1/2 Test)||Offered through LifeLabs Genetics. A customer care agent will contact you to arrange the appointment(s)|
|Genetic carrier screening (Counsyl Family Prep Screen)||Offered through Counsyl, using the Counsyl online account & barcode number on the results report|
|Panorama Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)||Pretest information session is available. Ordering physician may offer or arrange genetic counselling for the patient*|
* Counselling is performed through LifeLabs Genetics or a LifeLabs Genetics partner.
Genetic Counselling Sessions at LifeLabs
FACTS FOR PATIENTS
- Offered pre- and/or post-test, depending on the test
- Vary in length, but usually last 30 – 60 minutes
- Take place by phone or virtual conference
- Conveniently scheduled as per the patient’s availability
- Counselling available in multiple languages
- Formal sessions may be included in the price of the test
- Include a follow-up summary document for the healthcare provider and patient
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR
GENETIC COUNSELLING SESSION
The counselling is designed for adults. Parents and guardians should attend on a child’s behalf. The session may, at your discretion, include a healthcare provider(s), a spouse or partner, and/or family members. We recommend limiting participation to 2 or 3 people, as the sessions may become emotional, cover complex and sensitive topics, and are limited by time.
Prior to the genetic counselling session, you should:
- Be able to summarize your medical history
- Gather information about similar genetic conditions or symptoms experienced by immediate family members (parents, aunts, uncles, first cousins, children)
- Prepare any questions or concerns related to the test, the results, or diseases of interest
- Choose a quiet, private space to participate in the discussion
After the session, the counsellor will prepare a letter for your healthcare provider.
Contents of the letter vary but may include:
- A summary of the medical and family history information shared
- A few details about the pertinent genetic conditions
- Explanation of possible results
- Screening and management recommendations (if applicable)
LIFELABS' GENETIC COUNSELLORS
The team advises on test selection and ordering, explains risks and limitations of genetic testing, and gathers medical and family information to assist in results interpretation, and much more.