WEST MONROE, La. (12/16/19) — Jenna Finley is a board-certified genetic counselor at Invitae, a leading medical genetics company. After counseling patients for years, Jenna knew the power with genetic information, but with no strong family history of disease she wasn’t concerned about her risk. She mostly wanted to better understand the experience of her patients.
When she received her results, she was shocked. Her results revealed a genetic change in a gene associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. She went to see her doctor, who referred her to a high-risk breast cancer clinic, where she worked with a team to establish a plan to carefully monitor her health.
Now any signs of breast cancer that develop will be caught early. As a genetic counselor, Jenna knew that the other members of her family should be tested in case they, too, faced an increased health risks based on their shared genes. In fact, her mother’s test came back positive for the same cancer-causing genetic change Jenna has.
More surprisingly, her father learned that he has a disorder that causes excess iron in the body’s organs, which can be fatal. Jenna’s father quickly went to his doctor who found his iron levels were so high that he had to begin treatment immediately to avoid potentially irreversible damage. Had Jenna and her parents not gone through the process of genetic testing, they might have ever known about these health conditions.
What Your Genes Can Tell You About Your Health: Your genes reveal more than just where your ancestors were from. Tiny changes in your genes can put you at increased risk of a wide variety of diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
●Why Medical Genetic Testing is So Important: Not all genetic tests are created equal. The tests that are popular gifts at the holidays that tell you about your ancestry do not give you the health information you can use to make health decisions like Jenna’s family did. Jenna can tell you what to look for and how to choose a medical genetic test.
● Her Personal Story: Jenna had no reason to believe anything would be amiss, and her entire career was based on understanding how your genes affect your health. She was a proponent of genetic testing before she did it herself, but now is a huge advocate of testing for families, knowing she’s helped multiple family members live longer and healthier lives.
● Family Health History: It is important to understand your family’s health history and to think about how genetic testing can complement what you know. Jenna will also touch on how to broach the topic of health history when you’re going home for the holidays and how to handle the sometimes-difficult conversations that happen when your health impacts others in your family.
●Increased Genetic Risks are Common: 1 in 6 consumers in the U.S. have a medically actionable disorder and may not know it.
● How Genetic Testing Can Help: Genetic testing help with a wide range of health questions, whether you’re current facing a health issue, planning for a family, currently expecting or interested in preventing disease.
For more information on genetic testing, you can visit www.invitae.com.