Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Genetic Counseling? - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Genetic Counseling?

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Martha Jefferson Hospital recently welcomed Martha Thomas to its team. Thomas is a certified genetic counselor and spends her days talking with patients who are concerned about their risk of developing cancer.

"The first thing we do during an appointment is really go through and get a very detailed family and medical history," commented Thomas.

Anyone who is concerned about their risk, whether they have a family history of cancer, or were diagnosed themselves at a young age, is a good candidate for counseling. Before your appointment, it's important to gather information about your family history, including as many details as possible.

"The more information a person knows about their family, the more I'm really about to help them and do a more thorough analysis," said Thomas.

Based on the conversation that is had with the patient, Thomas then works to help people analyze their risk, and then a conversation is had surrounding whether or not genetic testing is the right option for them.

"Genetic testing is easy," commented Thomas. "It's a blood draw, but there are lots of layers of information that you find out from that very simple blood draw. Really sitting down with someone who can explain with you on a simple level what we're talking about with genes, what we're talking about with DNA, how is this going to affect your life, those are some very serious conversations."

Tests can be done to determine a patient's risk for breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancers, just to name a few. Thomas says thanks to continued research, more information is becoming available every day.

For more information on genetic counseling, or to make an appointment with Martha Thomas, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.

If you have a question about your health you'd like for us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com.

Do you have health questions? Starting June 4, get the answers every Monday morning from the experts at Martha Jefferson Hospital in our new feature: Martha Jefferson Monday.

Jenn Downs will meet with the experts of Martha Jefferson Hospital and ask them your questions. You’ll see and hear the answers during NBC29 News at Sunrise every Monday morning.

Submit your questions now! Just click this link and write your question in the email. Then tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Martha Jefferson Monday brought to you by NBC29 and Martha Jefferson Hospital.

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