While it's natural to wonder if you might have inherited an abnormal BRCA gene from one of your parents, it's also important to remember that the overwhelming majority of women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. That's why genetic testing is recommended only for people whose family history or other factors suggest the presence of a gene mutation.
Maybe it was the Jolie effect. Or you want to find out if you're carrying a silent genetic mutation that could be passed on to a child. Or perhaps you're just really hoping you can blame your DNA for how awful cilantro tastes. Whatever the reason, you're interested in finding out something about your genome. Now what?
The FDA's approval of the marketing of genetics-testing company 23andMe's carrier test for Bloom syndrome affirmed the rights of consumers to drive their own healthcare decisions and procedures. But it also means that it has become urgent to develop policies to regulate the rights of companies to resell data derived from the contents of our DNA and from our medical records.
Decisions regarding genetic testing should never be made lightly. The results of these tests can require difficult and life-altering choices, for yourself and your family. Testing should only be done when you can actually use that information to take steps that will have a major positive health or life impact.