Genetic testing involves taking a closer look at your DNA. Just like your genes determine physical characteristics, like the color of your eyes or the color of your skin, your DNA might also give you clues about what’s going on beneath the surface. It might give you clues about your health– whether or not you are genetically predisposed to certain diseases.
Genetic testing can help your doctor establish a diagnosis and inform your treatment. Genetic testing can also help you and your family be better equipped to consider treatment options and give you an understanding of your genetics. This toolkit is designed to help you understand what genetic testing is, its limitations, and its benefits. Inside this toolkit you will also find information about finding a genetic counselor and how to get genetic counseling.
Genetic testing can be beneficial for pancreatitis patients. For centuries, the hereditary nature of chronic pancreatitis was not known. This has affected pancreatitis patients in many ways, the most important of which has been the misconception that chronic pancreatitis is caused by alcohol consumption. This misconception negatively affects the care pancreatitis patients receive.
Testing your genes might give you clues about the hereditary nature of your pancreatitis. It might also help inform your future care. For example, new guidelines indicate that patients with PRSS1 mutations are at higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer, and thus should be screened earlier and more often.
We have developed another toolkit specifically for pancreatitis patients with the help of Jennifer Kemppainen, a certified genetic counselor. The toolkit is meant to be a conversation starter with your gastroenterologist about whether or not genetic testing for pancreatitis is right for you.
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