Healthy People 2020: Genetic Testing

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Healthy People 2020: Genetic Testing

The objective that I chose from the Healthy People 2020 Objectives was to increase the proportion of genetic testing. This is a new objective, having not been included in Healthy People 2010. The genomics discipline is a budding field and it concerns the study of an individual’s genome. Genomics uses knowledge of the molecular source of a disease in order to help predict, treat and quantify the likelihood of disease reoccurrence. For years, Katie Couric and other public figures have emphasized the importance of colon cancer screening, urging Americans to get screened since this is one of the few cancers that can be prevented. These communication efforts have broken the silence on both colonoscopies and colon cancer, helping erase the stigma around the screening process. Research on the genomics of cancer, colon cancer being an example, has taught us that the information within the biology of the tumor is crucial to understanding how it will behave and progress. The question is how Genomic health education will help reach the objective set forth by Healthy People 2020. From a patient’s perspective, people tend to see genetic information as more definitive, in the sense that 'you cannot change your genes' and that 'genes tell all about your future.’ Such genetic determinism is an oversimplification and does not take into account the nature of biologic pathways. From a provider’s perspective, genomics presents challenges with respect to ethical and professional responsibilities, including the appropriate use of genomic information in the health care setting. I believe that there should be an identification of provider education programs that increase use of appropriate screening, counseling and evidence-based genetic tests. By increasing the effectiveness of genomic testing, it will help dissolve the negative association and further increase the proportion of people who are willing to receive genetic testing. Due to the fact...
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