November 22, 2011 For Immediate Release
Sudbury -- What is genetic counselling? What are some of the health care issues that genetic counselling can address? What is the role of a genetic counsellor?
This is Genetic Counselling Awareness Week in Canada, and the Genetic Counselling service of Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord (HSN) is taking this opportunity to answer some of the key questions regarding this valuable health care service.
The Genetic Counselling service is located at the Sudbury Outpatient Centre of HSN on Regent Street. The service has a team of four genetic counsellors, one external advisory geneticist, and several other visiting geneticists.
The Genetic Counselling service sees about 700 patients a year from Greater Sudbury and surrounding areas. Services include prenatal, pediatric, adult and cancer genetic screening and counselling.
Genetic conditions occur when there is a change or mutation in a person’s genetic information. These changes can be hereditary or occur randomly at conception.Conditions linked to genetic mutations include Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome, and haemophilia.
“The field of medical genetics is accelerating at a breathtaking pace. The role of a genetic counsellor in helping patients understand this complex science and the impact it has on them and their families is more important than ever”, explains Valerie Allison Clinical Coordinator Genetic Counselling Services.
Genetic counsellors are specially trained health professionals who can help you understand how certain conditions brought on by genetic mutations can affect you and your family. Genetic counsellors can also assist people in determining if they may be more likely to develop a specific genetic condition. They can also inform people of their health care options in the event a hereditary condition is detected, and which support services are available in the community. Genetic counsellors also work with other health care providers and the general public to provide information about conditions linked to genetic changes.
Some of the most common reasons people visit a genetic counsellor are:
§ A prenatal screening test or ultrasound has shown an increased chance of a baby having a genetic condition
§ A family history of cancer
§ A personal or family history suggesting/indicating a condition that may be genetically linked, such as infertility, miscarriages, certain disabilities and illnesses
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Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord is grateful for the ongoing support of the community through its foundations, Health Sciences North Foundation and the Northern Cancer Foundation, and the HSN Volunteer Association.
Health Sciences North
For further information about the HSN and its services, visit our website, www.hsnsudbury,ca