In the past few decades, science has reached great strides. Health conditions that used to be considered a death sentence can now be managed with medications. If you’re concerned about possibly passing an existing medical condition to your offspring, you can undergo testing to estimate the probability. You can also find out your own predisposition to developing certain health issues. But, how does it all work? What is genomic testing? How is it different from genetic testing? And, how do you know if you need it?
What is genomic testing?
Genomic testing is the process of studying an entire genome to look for any mutations or harmful changes. It can be done by collecting cells or through a blood sample, and it’s done to help diagnose an illness, to determine the best form of treatment, and to verify whether treatment is actually working.
Genomic testing looks at how your genes are sequenced and how they interact with each other. This is crucial to help doctors predict your risk of disease, the rate at which cancer cells can spread, and the likelihood of recurrence if you’ve reached remission.
Genomic Testing vs Genetic Testing
Genetic testing looks for mutations and changes in a person’s DNA. This means that it’s more specific than genomic testing, as genomes are made of DNA. For example, if your doctor suspects a specific medical condition and wants to either confirm or rule out the diagnosis, they will recommend genetic testing to observe a single gene. On the other hand, if you have a more complicated medical history and you need a widespread study to see how your DNA interacts with other genetic components, your healthcare professional will recommend genomic testing. Genomic testing also lets health specialists predict the behavior of a disease — such as a cancer tumor growing or metastasizing.
There are various types of genetic testing. Which one would serve you best depends on your specific medical history as well as any symptoms of illness you may be experiencing. Depending on which one you need, your doctor or nurse practitioner may take a blood or saliva sample, swab the inside of your cheek to gather cells, or order a biopsy. Once the sample is gathered, it can take up to four weeks to receive results.
In a nutshell, genetic testing can help you determine your risk of developing a disease so that you can take active steps to lower that risk. Meanwhile, genomic testing will help establish how genes interact to cause the disease, and to predict how the disease will behave and respond to treatment.
How To Know if You Need Genomic Testing
Genomic testing is usually recommended if your doctor suspects you may have a rare disease or cancer. It can also be recommended if you’re already a cancer patient and your oncologist wants to determine the best way to contain the spread of the disease.
If You Need Genetic Testing, Nurse Practitioners of Florida Can Help
At Nurse Practitioners of Florida, we have a dedicated team of certified nurse practitioners who have an unwavering commitment to providing you with care and compassion. When you call any of our locations, you will be greeted by a live person who’s ready to offer acute medical care as well as preventive measures — including genetic testing. And, above everything else, you will be treated like family.