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Six Questions Consumers Should Ask About Genetic Tests
Date:2/24/2009

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As genetic tests become more affordable and advanced, consumers have access to personalized medical information that can help them manage their health and make good choices for prevention and treatment. But not all genetic tests are created equal.

For consumers purchasing a genetic test that provides any type of health risk assessment or medical diagnosis, the non-profit American Clinical Laboratory Association and its educational campaign "Results for Life," suggests that consumers ask themselves the six questions below:

1. Is the test done in a medical lab certified under CLIA?

This is the law, called the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, which requires medical laboratories to meet standards for quality, accuracy, safety and validity of the tests they perform.

2. Is a genetic counselor, physician or other knowledgeable health professional available to assist you in selecting tests and interpreting results?

Does your 0.5% chance of getting esophageal cancer at some point in your life, for example, mean anything, or is it irrelevant? A knowledgeable health care provider should be available to assist you in deciding which tests are appropriate and understanding the test results.

3. Do the claims seem hard to believe?

Genetic testing is a remarkable science -- but it isn't a guarantee that you will, for example, find the ideal mate or achieve perfect health. If the claim seems too good to be true, it probably is.

4. Are other products, such as nutritional supplements, being sold along with the test?

If they are, caution. That could be a sign that the company's profit -- not your health -- is the real concern. Genetic tests should provide information. They should be viewed with caution when they are an adjunct to marketing nutr
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SOURCE American Clinical Laboratory Association
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