7 Tips for Talking with Loved Ones About Genetic Testing Results

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Genetic testing can come with a lot of questions, concerns, and fears. However, genetic tests are important for medical professionals to provide accurate diagnoses and treatments for diseases that run in families. They can also provide peace of mind for parents who are genetic carriers. Individuals take these tests so that they can learn about their risk factors before having children or undergoing treatment for certain conditions. By embracing these seven tips, you can learn how to talk with loved ones about your test results as well as the emotional impacts of genetic testing on both patients and family members alike.

  1. Understand the Test Results: The first step is to understand your test results. This can be done by consulting with a healthcare provider or genetic counselor who will guide you through the results. Understanding the results can help you clearly articulate the information to your loved ones.
  2. Remember the Value of Testing: Genetic testing is an emotional process but it is one of the only ways to be able to determine risk for certain diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s Disease. Remembering the value behind testing can help you convey your feelings to loved ones clearly and concisely in a way that is relatable.
  3. Develop a Support System: It is important to develop a support system that consists of friends, family members, and your physician. This can help you feel safe and secure when discussing your results.
  4. Open the Discussion: Once you have done your own reflection and talked with loved ones about what to expect it’s time to open up a dialogue about your results. Remember that everyone will have different reactions to the information you deliver, so having a support system in place prior can help deal with any emotions that might arise.
  5. Read About Other People’s Experiences: Reading about other people who have undergone the same test can make you feel less alone. It can help you determine the best way to approach loved ones about your own results and give you some insight into how they might react. Being able to share a similar story of someone who received a positive test result can help alleviate some of your friends’ and family member’s concerns.
  6. Understand Genetic Testing as a Tool: In the end, genetic testing is a tool that your physician can use to help keep you healthy. Things like genetic cancer testing can allow physicians to create a comprehensive treatment plan. Communicating this to your friends and family can help them understand that outcomes do not need to be feared but can be embraced as a way to help you maintain health.
  7. Set Aside Time to Talk: It’s important not to leave these kinds of conversations up in the air. Scheduling time out of your day to talk about genetic testing results with loved ones will help you feel less overwhelmed and more able to create a clear path for further conversation. You can reserve time to discuss all the information so that you and loved ones can process the results, no matter what they are.

Genetic testing offers invaluable information to healthcare providers. By following these tips and trusting professionals, you can have easier, more productive conversations about genetic testing with loved ones. This can help you feel more relaxed, confident, and better equipped to understand your results and what they mean.

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