You may have heard about genetic testing. But what exactly is it and is it something you should consider? Genetic testing identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. It can be used for precision medicine to help best manage your condition.
Why Genetic Testing?
Precision medicine is an emerging field of medicine that relies on genetic testing to tailor treatments to each patient’s unique physiology. In other words, it is a type of “customized” medicine. While precision medicine is still in its early stages, it has the potential to completely change the way we think about and treat diseases. This is especially true for rare disorders, for which there is often no “one-size-fits-all” treatment. If you or a loved one has a rare disorder, you may be wondering whether or not precision medicine is right for you.
How Does it Work?
Precision medicine involves using an individual’s genetic information to develop personalized treatments that are tailored to their unique biology. This is possible because advances in technology have made it possible to read the genetic code of an individual quickly and accurately. By analyzing a person’s genetic information, healthcare providers can identify genetic mutations that may be causing or contributing to their illness. Once these mutations have been identified, a treatment plan can be developed that specifically targets the underlying biology of the disease.
What are the Benefits?
The potential benefits of precision medicine are enormous. By developing treatments that are tailored to each individual, doctors can improve the effectiveness of treatments and reduce the risk of side effects. This is especially important for rare disorders, which often have very few treatment options and can be difficult to diagnose. If you or a loved one has a rare disorder, including rare cancers, you may be considering genetic testing and precision medicine as a treatment option. Before making any decisions, it is important to understand that genetic testing can carry some risks, including the possibility of misinterpretation or misdiagnosis.
What is the Cost of Genetic Testing?
It is also important to consider the practical implications of genetic testing, including the cost of testing and the availability of treatments. While the cost of genetic testing has come down in recent years, it can still be expensive, and insurance coverage may be limited. Despite these challenges, precision medicine holds enormous promise for patients with rare disorders.
Get the Help of a Private Patient Advocate
Pathway Patient Advocates focus on helping clients navigate rare disorders. If you or a loved one are considering genetic testing, an experienced private patient advocate can assist you with finding the right provider, and genetic testing, and help navigate your medical care with you. We can help you navigate this complex field.