Being referred for a genetic consultation is understandably stressful. You may have been seeking out a diagnosis for months or years, or may be worried that you might carry a genetic disorder that is in your family. The doctors and genetic counselors at the Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC) strive to provide patient-centered care that empowers through education and support, along with diagnosis.
Genetic Consultation Explained
What is a genetic consultation? That’s usually the first question a patient asks when his or her primary care physician suggests a consultation. A genetic consultation at GGC may be suggested for people who have, or may be at risk for, a genetic disorder. Consultations take place at one of the Greenwood Genetic Center offices. Some patients may also have the opportunity to be seen via telemedicine in other locations. During the consultation, a clinical geneticist and/or genetic counselor will discuss your medical and family health history. Depending on your reason for referral, they may also perform a physical exam. If further testing is deemed appropriate at that time, your clinician will explain testing in detail and guide you through the process.
How to Prepare for a Genetic Consultation
Appointments for a genetic consultation begin with a referral from your healthcare provider. Concerns about conditions or symptoms, prenatal concerns, and a family history of genetically predisposed diseases, such as cancer, are some of the reasons a physician makes a referral for a genetic consultation. Visiting the Greenwood Genetic Center is like visiting any healthcare clinic for the first time. Patients can expect the staff to be friendly, efficient and professional.
The basic preparation tips for a consultation include:
Plan at least one hour for your appointment.
Review your personal and family history so you can answer detailed questions. If possible, talk with family members before your visit. Bring notes if you wish.
Bring medical records and past test results, if available, along with a complete list of prescription medications, supplements and other over-the-counter medications you take regularly.
Family photos can help geneticists identify patterns in physical features, so bring photos from several generations if possible.
If you have insurance or Medicaid cards, bring them to your consultation.
While it can be stressful, undergoing a genetic consultation and/or testing can often provide an answer and with that, a sense of relief. Knowledge is power, and knowing whether a genetic mutation is present allows patients to either move on without worry or embrace treatment options than can prevent or manage disease.
The diagnosis of a genetic mutation can also be used to help couples make decisions about their family planning.
Diagnoses are made through a combination of information gathered by a genetics professional during your consultation and diagnostic testing results. Only after an accurate diagnosis has been made can the patient and their team begin to chart the best possible plan for treatment or management through medical, educational and support services.
Cancer Genetic Counseling
Cancer genetic counseling clinics provide information and support to individuals with a personal and/or family history of cancer – to answer questions, assess risk, and provide guidance on genetic testing, surveillance, and treatment options.
Our General Genetics Clinic serves individuals and families across the lifespan for a variety of genetic conditions to make a diagnosis, guide appropriate medical care and treatment, and serve as a resource for families – all in a caring and compassionate atmosphere.
GGC’s Metabolic Clinics provide compassionate care and guide treatments for individuals with disorders involving the body’s metabolism. Our patients may be referred by their physician or may be detected through newborn screening.
GGC’s prenatal genetic counselors provide information and support for families facing the risk of a genetic diagnosis in their unborn baby. Our counselors work as part of the prenatal care team to provide the best possible care and information in a supportive environment.
GGC clinicians participate in multiple specialty clinics which serve individuals with a specific genetic diagnosis. Our geneticists work with providers from other specialties to offer the best care in the most convenient way.
Makayla was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome in April of 2015 at the age of two. At about 18 months, we noticed she had started some repetitive hand motions, and her pediatrician was a little concerned that she did not have many words. She had learned some sign language, and was saying ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, but that was it. Then she suddenly stopped all of that. At her 2 year old check-up, the pediatrician referred us to BabyNet, SC’s early interve...