Genetic Counseling and Testing near me: what are the options?
Genetic counseling and testing for genetic syndromes, are crucial services for rare disease patients.
However obstacles to accessing these services often mean that patients are deprived of critical counseling and care.
What is genetic counseling and testing?
They are important services for individuals facing a rare disease diagnosis. Genetic counseling is a must before anyone begins a genetic testing journey, and it provides key information, education, and support for patients and their families. Genetic testing involves any number of different tests to identify specific gene mutations or chromosomal changes, that might make a person a carrier for a genetic syndrome, or someone who is at high risk for developing a syndrome.
Genetic counseling and testing have, for the most part, always been conducted through in-person appointments and visits.
Genetic counseling and testing near me: the challenges
When it comes to looking for genetic and counseling options close to home, you may run into any one of the following challenges:
There are no genetic counseling and testing services in your area. This is an issue specifically in rural, and remote areas, but even in smaller cities or urban centres, genetic counselors can be difficult to find.
There are no specialized genetic counseling and testing services in your area. Sometimes, depending on the rare disease diagnosis faced, you may need a specific type of genetic counseling and testing- perhaps for pediatric genetics, or genetics related to a cancer diagnosis, or a counselor who has experience with a specific rare disease. With just 12% of genetic counselors, in the US, specializing in pediatric genetics for example, these specialists can be hard to find at all, let alone close to you.
Genetic counseling services in your area have long wait lists, and wait times for an appointment. This is a very real problem, as genetic testing options and awareness around rare diseases grows, placing pressure on crucial counseling services, and making them even more difficult to access.
Genetic counseling and testing near me: what these challenges might mean for you, as a possible rare disease patient, or parent of a potential rare disease patient?
You will have to travel long distances to access genetic counseling and testing services. This can be time consuming, and expensive, and involve juggling multiple family schedules to make it work. This creates a large amount of stress for everyone involved.
You may have a long wait to access genetic counseling and testing services. This wait can be very frustrating, especially if you are also having to manage the symptoms of a rare disease, without a confirmed diagnosis. Unfortunately long diagnostic times are still much too common when it comes to receiving a genetic diagnosis, and this can have a very detrimental impact on the lives of those with a possible rare disease, and their families too.
You may be faced with the possibility of yet another misdiagnosis. When access to key genetic services is limited, the chances of receiving an accurate diagnosis rise exponentially. Even just a delayed diagnosis can have a tremendous impact on the daily lives of a rare disease individual and their caregivers. An accurate, fast diagnosis is crucial in improving the lives of those with a genetic syndrome, in order to ensure they receive the right support, and possible treatment options as quickly as possible. We know that early intervention is key to improving the lives of individuals affected by a rare disease, and delivering this means quick access to genetic counseling and testing services.
Genetic counseling and testing near me: the solution
If you are facing issues with accessing genetic counseling and testing services near you, or at all, it may be time to consider online genetic counseling options.
In recent years, online genetic counseling services are becoming increasingly available for those struggling to access these services near them.
Ease of use: all you need is an internet connection, and a device with video capabilities. This means you can access online genetic counseling from your phone, tablet, or computer.
Comfort: genetic counseling can be a difficult, albeit important, process for patients and their families. Being able to access this support from the comfort of your home, or other comfortable space, is very important and for many patients, it helps make the whole process less stressful. It also eliminates long journey times, and scheduling conflicts.
Availability: many genetic counseling services have a network of global counselors, allowing you to connect with a counselor from anywhere in the world, fast. This network of experienced experts means you can secure an appointment within hours, if necessary. It also means you can access specialist counselors, depending on the diagnosis you or your child, may be facing.
For many parents, finding genetic counseling and testing services near them, can seem like an almost impossible task. It seems even harder, when having to factor in long journeys spent travelling to appointments, and long wait times to even secure an appointment. This only serves to complicate what is already a very difficult journey and process for many families.
Online genetic counseling and testing services aim to make the entire process much less challenging, by making it faster, easier to access, and more accurate. Transforming, as it does so, how we go about looking for, and finding genetic counseling and testing services. Help and support is now available for everyone who needs it.