Disclosure: I received a Futura Genetics DNA test as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this Futura Genetics review are my own, and I was in no way influenced by the company.
Futura Genetics review …
Would you want to know if you were genetically predisposed to having certain life-altering conditions? I know not everyone feels this way, but I definitely would! For me, the more information I know about potential health issues, the better. It helps me to make better decisions regarding my health.
So when the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network reached out to me a few months ago and offered me free DNA testing through Futura Genetics, I was one of the first to sign up! Futura Genetics’ noninvasive DNA test assesses lifetime risk for developing 28 common conditions, including breast, lung and colorectal cancers, Alzheimer’s, coronary heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and others. Here’s a full list of the conditions included in the testing.
The testing process was really easy. I ordered my test kit via Futura’s website, and it was mailed to me free of charge. The kit contained a small vial to collect a saliva sample. I popped my sample back in the postage-paid mailer, and a UPS guy picked it up from my front porch the next day.
A few weeks later, I received an email notification that my test results were ready. My report compares my lifetime risk to the average lifetime risk for my gender for each of the 28 conditions. The numerical data is first presented in a simple chart. Then, the report includes several pages that go into more detail on how my risk compares with others for each of the 28 conditions and makes suggestions on steps I can take to reduce my risk.
My report included small summaries of each of the 28 conditions included in the Futura testing, and there’s also a page-long Genetics 101 section. Near the end of the report is a listing of the genetic markers that were analyzed. This is helpful for anyone who might be interested in seeking out genetic counseling.
When I submitted my test kit, I opted to get a printed version of my test results, which arrived via UPS a few weeks after my results were posted online. The booklet makes it easy to share my results with my doctors.
My results …
I was pretty surprised by how closely my results mirrored my family history. My mom passed away in 2009 from lung cancer. She smoked when she was younger, but had quit about a decade before her diagnosis. We always assumed her smoking caused her cancer, and I’m sure it was a big contributing factor, but my test results show I have a genetic predisposition for developing lung cancer. My lifetime risk is 17 percent vs. the average person’s risk of 6.7 percent. Reading that, I’m glad my hubby and I quit smoking in 2011. Since I know I’m at increased risk, I’ll be more diligent about lung cancer screening as I get older.
I’m also at increased risk for developing lupus (6.6 percent lifetime risk vs. .91 percent for the average person). This finding was interesting, too, because my mother had lupus (and fibromyalgia). She was diagnosed during the 1990s, and testing was so new back then that I never knew if she really had lupus, or if some doctor had given her that label because he felt like he had to diagnose her with SOMETHING. (Like so many of us, she went from doctor-to-doctor-to-doctor trying to figure out why she felt so sick, and she racked up diagnoses – some of them questionable – as the years went by.) Like the lung cancer finding, knowing I have a genetic predisposition will help me to be more aware of symptoms, and I’ll ask for periodic testing.
The women on my dad’s side of the family have always had thinning hair, and over the past few years I’ve spent more time in front of the mirror wondering if I’m losing too much hair. Well, turns out, I have a 60 percent lifetime risk of alopecia. How lovely!
I also have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s (Anyone want to start a crossword puzzle club?), breast cancer (My annual mammogram is next month!) and celiac disease (I’ve been mostly gluten free for the past 6 months, but it would really suck to have to give up cupcakes and biscuits forever!).
Not for everyone …
When I decided to take the Futura DNA test, I didn’t think much about other’s reactions. It really didn’t occur to me that some people wouldn’t want to know about their genetics until I tried to show my results to my husband. He became visibly uncomfortable, and I could tell he really didn’t want to discuss my results. He made it clear he would never have DNA testing done because he wouldn’t want to know what could be facing him.
I feel the opposite. To me, this is important information. Futura’s straightforward, easy-to-understand report will help me to be more observant of my health and make better choices to minimize my risks of certain conditions.
Now for the cons …
There was a short delay in having UPS pick up my test kit. From my understanding, Futura was still working out an agreement with UPS, and it took a few days to get the pick up arranged. This wasn’t a big deal; I just held off on collecting my saliva sample until the night before the UPS pick up. I’m pretty sure this issue has been resolved at this point.
It did take several weeks to get my online results and several more weeks to receive my printed report. Again, not a big deal. I was just impatient to find out my test results! I reminded myself that DNA testing in the real world isn’t as fast as it is on TV crime dramas.
Probably the biggest drawback to the testing is cost. (Isn’t that almost always the issue?) The test is $375. I wouldn’t have been able to afford that on my own, although I do think the information is extremely valuable.
Overall, my experience with Futura was positive, and I think it’s worthwhile to know how your genes may affect your future health.
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