One woman's genetic test might have saved her father's lilfe

(WZAW) -- Jenna Finley is a board-certified genetic counselor at Invitae, a leading medical genetics company. After counseling patients for years, Jenna knew the power with genetic information, but with no strong family history of disease she wasn’t concerned about her risk. She mostly wanted to better understand the experience of her patients.

Her results revealed a genetic change in a gene associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. She went to see her doctor, who referred her to a high-risk breast cancer clinic, where she worked with a team to establish a plan to carefully monitor her health. Now any signs of breast cancer that develop will be caught early.

With her job experience, Jenna knew that the other members of her family should be tested in case they, too, faced an increased health risks based on their shared genes. In fact, her mother’s test came back positive for the same cancer-causing genetic change Jenna has. More surprisingly, her father learned that he has a disorder that causes excess iron in the body’s organs, which can be fatal.

Jenna’s father quickly went to his doctor who found his iron levels were so high that he had to begin treatment immediately to avoid potentially irreversible damage. Had Jenna and her parents not gone through the process of genetic testing, they might have ever known about these health conditions.

Studies show that increased genetic risks are common. In fact, 1 in 6 consumers in the U.S. have a medically actionable disorder and may not know it.

Genetic testing help with a wide range of health questions, whether you’re current facing a health issue, planning for a family, currently expecting or interested in preventing disease.

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