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Bit of Concern

The increased ease of access to genetic testing gives some medical professionals pause, the Washington Post writes, as they are concerned about whether people will understand their results and how they may handle them.

The US Food and Drug Administration announced earlier this month that it was allowing direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andMe to offer its genetic health risk report on three BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations that boost risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The Post adds that the firm has plans to expand its number of genetic disease risk tests.

The Post notes that as FDA has been cautious in allowing DTC genetic health risk tests, others have argued that people have a right to know such things about themselves. Still, FDA warned that consumers shouldn't base treatment decisions on the results.

Genetic counselors and others tell the Post that they want to ensure that people understand the nuances of the testing and what result can and can't show rather than trying to tease that information out on their own or from a primary care physician who may also have a limited understanding of the tests.

"The more complex it gets the more I worry a little bit about people having that information out there and drawing conclusions that may or may not be 100 percent correct," Emory University's Jane Lowe Meisel tells the Post, adding, though that the test is a move to "democratizing genetic information."