Should your next checkup include a genetic test?

With the recent proliferation of genetic testing services, routine checkups could soon include having one’s genome screened. A recent opinion piece in the Annals of Internal Medicine argued in favor of the idea, noting that it’s possible that at least 1% of the U.S. population has an identifiable genetic risk for cancer or heart disease that could be detected and better managed.

Aedin Culhane, a senior research scientist in the Department of Biostatistics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, commented in a July 30, 2018 Live Science article that the 1% estimate is likely low. However, Culhane, raised several concerns about making genetic tests routine, including that doctors are still wrestling with ways to usefully leverage the data gleaned from these tests.

“Increasingly, as our lives and data about us go online, large companies have access [to] more data on us than most people can imagine,” Culhane said. “Once data is online, it is difficult to remove it.”

Read the Live Science article: Is Getting Your Genome Screened at a Doctor’s Appointment a Good Idea?