Pros of choosing to learn secondary findings include learning about risk for a genetic condition, which can help manage your health. You can also share results with family members, who can also take steps to improve their heath. Cons can include increased worry, or guilt and discomfort sharing results with your family. You may also worry that your genetic results may affect your health insurance or job. Although a federal law protects against this type of discrimination, it does not protect new life insurance or disability insurance.
Sharing Results with Family
Dr. Dan Roden discusses the issues related to sharing genetic information with family members. Genetic test results that you may receive may have an impact on your family members, as they share much of your DNA. This involves making personal decisions that can be extremely complicated. Similarly, when genetic testing is done on large groups of individuals, this may have important implications for society as a whole.
Maureen Smith of Northwestern University recommends first discussing genetic test results with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a genetic counselor, who can help you understand test results and guide you toward brochures and websites that can provide information for both you and your family.