After your 23andMe reports come back, you might have questions about what to do next. When the question around a DNA result revolves around genetics and your health, that’s where a healthcare provider fits in.
23andMe reports can provide you with powerful information about health predispositions*, pharmacogenetics**, wellness, and more. Let’s talk about the path to taking your 23andMe report to a healthcare provider if one or more of your reports indicate you are at increased risk.
Take the first step
You have your 23andMe report; now what? We have created many ways for you to learn, explore, and understand your reports on your own. Start with exploring the 23andMe Genetics Learning Hub, visit our YouTube channel for learning videos, follow the guided education provided by your report’s tutorial section, and search through information and answers to FAQs that our Customer Care team has compiled like this guidance on navigating and understanding a health predisposition report.
Each 23andMe report is unique and includes additional sources to guide you to answers. Some reports specifically lay out the next steps for you. Familiarize yourself with your 23andMe report and all it contains. That’s often the best place to start.
Schedule a visit with a healthcare provider
Next, use that guidance to schedule a visit to your healthcare provider, like a doctor, nurse practitioner, or genetic counselor.
Genetics information fits into care and treatment differently, depending on the area of medicine. So when you decide to take a 23andMe report to a healthcare provider, make sure the report information you wish to talk about matches the area of expertise of your healthcare provider.
Here’s one example: If you have genetic variants identified on your MUTYH-Associated Polyposis Genetic Health Risk report*, seeking out someone trained in colon cancer is more appropriate than a specialist who works in a different area of medicine.
Prepare for questions from your healthcare provider
Your visit is scheduled, and it’s time to prepare. Remember to print out or save to your mobile device any of your 23andMe reports that you have questions about and bring them to your appointment, or send them to the provider at the time you schedule. They will likely want to understand your desires and goals for the visit, and more information ahead of time helps everyone prepare.
Genetic variants often run in families, meaning the sequence of DNA letters is passed from parent to child. Lifestyle and environment also are often shared factors for relatives who live and grow up together and can influence health risks. So you might also expect questions about your family’s health history and your own health to come up during the visit. Healthcare providers with genetics training know to look at a DNA test result in the context of a family history.
Try to check in with your closest relatives*** for an update before you meet with a provider to learn updates about conditions like heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure that might run in your family. Even rare and common conditions might provide clues about what a genetic result might mean for you.
Get ready for additional screening and testing
Your healthcare provider may order additional testing during your visit. Your provider will use the skills and knowledge they have from their area of specialty alongside your result and the recommendations included on the report. Some providers will order confirmatory genetic testing of the variant or variants identified on your report, or order additional screens based on their usual approach to care with patients.
Here are some examples: A nurse practitioner might suggest you start an annual mammogram if you do not have the three variants included in 23andMe’s BRCA1/BRCA2 (Selected Variants) Genetic Health Risk report* but you’re at an age where mammograms are recommended. And if you have a strong family history of cancer, a genetic counselor might recommend additional genetic testing that looks for many more variants in different genes.
Learn alongside your healthcare provider
Genetics – as well as environmental, lifestyle, and other factors – can impact your likelihood of developing certain health conditions or having certain traits. Your healthcare provider may use the report to prompt confirmatory testing, recommend a more extensive genetic test for a broader picture of risk, or increase the frequency of your screenings based on the current recommendations and guidelines.
When you take a 23andMe report to your health care provider, realize it might be the first experience for them seeing a 23andMe report as well. A 23andMe test is often the starting point for learning more about how genetics may impact your body and health. The growing interest in 23andMe’s service means more healthcare providers are having the opportunity to learn and incorporate these insights into their practice. 23andMe has several ongoing initiatives to help bring greater awareness of genomics to the medical community.
Face the uncertainty together
Know that feeling overwhelmed or uncertain are common reactions to seeing a genetic report that indicates increased risk for a health condition. Don’t let that stand in your way or prevent you from taking the next step. Any time health information comes to light, there is terminology to learn, newfound knowledge to adjust to, and an opportunity to partner with your healthcare provider.
Let your provider know how you are feeling about your result and the questions you have. Once you’re able to ask your questions and find out what comes next, you’ll likely notice a change in the way you are feeling. There are multiple ways a healthcare provider can be there with you to help you take that next step.
Your healthcare provider can become your partner in exploring the options and making choices about what to do with the information you’ve learned. If your report shows a variant detected for one of the three variants 23andMe tests for in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, it’s important that you reach out to a healthcare provider like 23andMe customers Jenn and Kristy did. Like the providers who worked with Jenn and Kristy, your provider can become your partner as you explore the options for confirmatory testing, screening and prevention.
At 23andMe, we believe that genetic information is core to all of us. It forms the basis for what makes us similar and unique. 23andMe was founded with the mission of helping people to access, understand, and benefit from this powerful information.
Finding a healthcare provider who understands the value of genetic information can help create a better care plan for you that is tailored to meet your needs. 23andMe is helping customers make that step easier. Now that Lemonaid Health is part of the 23andMe family, 23andMe customers can connect with a provider in any U.S. state for a Genetic Report Consultation on certain 23andMe Health reports. Learn more about it here.
What now? In order to prepare for a Genetic Report Consultation with a Lemonaid Health provider or an outside healthcare professional, ask yourself:
What is the main area of concern that I want to talk about?
Have I gathered information about my family history related to this concern?
Have I reviewed my genetic ancestry results and might they matter in this particular circumstance?
Would a telehealth appointment work for me to review this, or would I be better served by seeing someone local who might order additional tests or screens?
Where can I find a provider who can understand and talk about my results?
*23andMe health predisposition reports include both reports that meet FDA requirements for genetic health risks and reports which are based on 23andMe research and have not been reviewed by the FDA. The test uses qualitative genotyping to detect select clinically relevant variants in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting genetic health risks. It is not intended to diagnose any disease. Your ethnicity may affect the relevance of each report and how your genetic health risk results are interpreted. Each genetic health risk report describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but does not describe a person’s overall risk of developing the disease. The test is not intended to tell you anything about your current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication, how much of a medication you should take, or determine any treatment. Our carrier status reports can be used to determine carrier status, but cannot determine if you have two copies of any genetic variant. These carrier reports are not intended to tell you anything about your risk for developing a disease in the future, the health of your fetus, or your newborn child’s risk of developing a particular disease later in life. For certain conditions, we provide a single report that includes information on both carrier status and genetic health risk.Warnings & Limitations: The 23andMe PGS Genetic Health RIsk Report for BRCA1/BRCA2 (Selected Variants) is indicated for reporting of the 185delAG and 5382insC variants in the BRCA1 gene and the 6174delT variant in the BRCA2 gene. The report describes if a woman is at increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, and if a man is at increased risk of developing breast cancer or may be at increased risk of developing prostate cancer. The three variants included in this report are most common in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and do not represent the majority of BRCA1/BRCA2 variants in the general population. The MUTYH-Associated Polyposis Genetic Health Risk Report is indicated for reporting the Y179C and G396D variants in the MUTYH gene and an increased risk for colorectal cancer. The two variants included in this report are most common in people of Northern European descent. These reports do not include variants in other genes linked to hereditary cancers and the absence of variants included in these reports do not rule out the presence of other genetic variants that may impact cancer risk. The PGS test is not a substitute for visits to a healthcare professional for recommended screenings or appropriate follow-up. Results should be confirmed in a clinical setting before taking any medical action. For important information and limitations regarding each genetic health risk and carrier status report, visit 23andme.com/test-info/
**23andMe PGS Pharmacogenetics reports: The 23andMe test uses qualitative genotyping to detect 3 variants in the CYP2C19 gene, 2 variants in the DPYD gene and 1 variant in the SLCO1B1 gene in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting information about the processing of certain therapeutics to inform discussions with a healthcare professional. It does not describe if a person will or will not respond to a particular therapeutic and does not describe the association between detected variants and any specific therapeutic. Our CYP2C19 Pharmacogenetics report provides certain information about variants associated with metabolism of some therapeutics and provides interpretive drug information regarding the potential effect of citalopram and clopidogrel therapy. Results for SLCO1B1 and DPYD and certain CYP2C19 results should be confirmed by an independent genetic test prescribed by your own healthcare provider before taking any medical action. Warning: Test information should not be used to start, stop, or change any course of treatment and does not test for all possible variants that may affect metabolism or protein function. The PGS test is not a substitute for visits to a healthcare professional. Making changes to your current regimen can lead to harmful side effects or reduced intended benefits of your medication, therefore consult with your healthcare professional before taking any medical action. For important information and limitations regarding Pharmacogenetics reports, visit 23andme.com/test-info/pharmacogenetics/
***If your family history is limited because you are adopted, donor conceived, have a small family, or are not connected to or in communication with genetic kin, know that family history is only one piece of the puzzle. We encourage you to visit a healthcare provider with your report even if your family history is limited, and make use of your genetic reports until you may have more information in the future.