The Importance of Genetic Testing

Prof. Ephrat Levy-Lahad: Premarital Genetic Testing

 Professor Ephrat Levy-Lahad, Head of the Fuld Family Department of Medical Genetics at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, responded to a question about premarital genetic testing in the Jerusalem Post’s Rx for Readers column (which asks experts to address questions sent into the newspaper about medical problems).

Prof. Ephrat Levy-Lahad
Professor Levy-Lahad explains why genetic testing, before marriage and before pregnancy, is recommended even if the man and woman are not from the same ethnic background. She shared, “There are diseases like cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy that are present in Jews (and also non-Jews) of all ethnic backgrounds. There are also diseases that are common in Jews of different ethnic origins (such as Tay-Sachs, which is common both in Ashkenazim and in North African Jews).”

Professor Levy-Lahad also explained why certain tests should be performed before one gets married and why others should be before one becomes pregnant.

Please read the article for more details.

AT SZ – GENETIC COUNSELING/TESTING FOR HEREDITARY CANCERS

Thanks to ACSZ Board Member Rabbi David Fuld and his family, the Fuld Family Institute of Medical Genetics at Shaare Zedek Medical Center offers genetic counseling and testing for hereditary cancer syndromes such as hereditary breast-ovarian syndrome (BRCA1/2), gastrointestinal cancers (Lynch syndrome, FAP, etc.) and many other syndromes.

Cancer is the most common cause of death in Israel. Most cases of cancer are sporadic, me…aning the disease is diagnosed in a patient who does not have a history of cancer in his family. However, 5% to 10% of cancer cases develop as a result of a hereditary family tendency. Members of families with genetic predisposition are at increased risk of developing cancer during their lifetime. In families where there is cancer predisposition, several family members have cancer across more than one generation. Some of these cases are caused by familial cancer syndromes, which can be identified through clarification of the family story and laboratory tests to detect hereditary genetic defects –mutations in the relevant genes.

Genetic tests are performed in relevant situations after the families have received counseling. In Israel, to schedule a genetic counseling appointment, please call the Fuld Family Insitute of Medical Genetics, 02-6555130 or 02-6666336, email liorab@szmc.org.il.

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