If you think you might have a gene that makes you susceptible to a certain type of cancer or that you have one that might result in you passing a hereditary condition onto your future offspring, then you could use a genetic screening service to find out if this is the case. Here are some tips to follow if you decide to use this medical service.
Take advantage of any genetic counselling service the clinic offers
Most clinics that offer genetic screening will also either provide genetic counselling services or will be able to refer their patients to genetic counsellors. If the clinic you've picked offers this service, you should book two appointments with the genetic counsellor — one that you can attend before the screening and another that you can go to after you get the results.
The pre-screening counselling appointment will give you a chance to explore the pros and cons of getting this genetic testing done (for example, it may eliminate the torturous uncertainty that you might be dealing with, but it may also mean facing up to an upsetting prognosis). If the test shows that you carry a gene for a hereditary condition, the post-screening appointment you have afterwards will allow you to discuss, for example, how you will break the news to your partner (if they want to have a child with you) and what your options are, in regards to starting a family in the future. In this manner, the service could ease some of the emotional turmoil that taking this important test might cause.
Wait a while before sharing any positive test results with others
If after using this screening service, you find out that you have a gene mutation that could make you ill or could cause you to pass a condition onto your future offspring, then you should consider waiting a few days to tell your loved ones. It might take you a while to digest this information, and you may be upset, in denial or angry when you first read your results.
Being bombarded with questions from your family that you are too upset to answer or that you do not know the answers to could cause you great distress at a time when you should be trying to process this difficult news. As such, it's best to give yourself time to get used to this information before you share it with anyone else.