Genetic Counseling (cont.)
In this Article
- What are genetic professionals and what do they do?
- What is genetic counseling and evaluation?
- How do I find a genetic professional?
- How do I decide whether I need to see a geneticist or other specialist?
- Find a local Geneticist, Ph.D. in your town
How do I find a genetic professional?
Your health care provider may refer you to a genetic professional. Universities and medical centers also often have affiliated genetic professionals, or can provide referrals to a genetic professional or genetics clinic.
As more has been learned about genetics, genetic professionals have grown more specialized. For example, they may specialize in a particular disease (such as cancer genetics), an age group (such as adolescents) or a type of counseling (such as prenatal).
How do I decide whether I need to see a geneticist or other specialist?
Your health care provider may refer you to a geneticist - a medical doctor or medical researcher - who specializes in your disease or disorder. A medical geneticist has completed a fellowship or has other advanced training in medical genetics. While a genetic counselor or genetic nurse may help you with testing decisions and support issues, a medical geneticist will make the actual diagnosis of a disease or condition. Many genetic diseases are so rare that only a geneticist can provide the most complete and current information about your condition.
Along with a medical geneticist, you may also be referred to a physician who is a specialist in the type of disorder you have. For example, if a genetic test is positive for colon cancer, you might be referred to an oncologist. For a diagnosis of Huntington disease, you may be referred to a neurologist.
These online resources can help you find a genetic professional in your community:
A database of genetics counseling services, searchable by location, name, institution, type of practice or specialty. Hosted by the National Society of Genetic Counselors.
- Genetic Centers,
Clinics and Departments
A comprehensive resource list for genetic counseling, including links to genetic centers and clinics, associations, and university genetics departments. Hosted by the University of Kansas Medical Center.
A searchable directory of international genetics and prenatal diagnosis clinics.
SOURCE: National Human Genome Research Institute, "Frequently Asked Questions About Genetic Counseling."
Last Editorial Review: 7/9/2009
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