Frequently Asked Questions

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General Questions

What is Pharmacogenomics?

Pharmacogenomics uses information about a person’s genetic makeup to choose medications and medication doses that are likely to wok best for that particular person. Until recently, drugs have been developed with the idea that each drug works generally the same in everybody. However, genomic research has changed the one-size-fits-all approach.

What is pharmacogenetic testing?
A procedure whereby the laboratory tests specific genes responsible for metabolizing prescription drugs, in an effort to determine which drugs are suitable (as well as which drugs may not be appropriate) for an individual patient.
Why take the test?
-Shows how your genetics impact response to medications.

-Can help improve the effectiveness of the medications you take.

-Reduce negative side effects and prevent serious drug reactions.

-Avoid buying and using drugs that won’t work for you.

-Help eliminate trial and error period.

How do gene mutations affect which drugs I should or should not take?
Some people inherit mutations in one or more of the genes that produce drug metabolizing enzymes. Often, these mutations lead to the production of mutant forms of the associated drug-metabolizing enzyme. Sometimes, DNA mutations cause enzymes to have reduced activity, meaning they do an insufficient job of metabolizing their drug targets. A patient with a defect of this type may be advised not to take drugs that require the activity of the enzyme in question, and to instead seek alternatives.

Some gene mutations can lead to an entirely nonfunctioning enzyme – one incapable of acting on its target drugs. Patients with these mutations may be warned to stay away from

Finally, sometimes a mutation leads to a increased activity of an enzyme. While this may sound like a good thing, sometimes having too much enzymatic activity is actually bad with certain drugs.

What do my genes have to do with taking prescription drugs?
When a person swallows a drug, his or her body alters the compound in order to either activate it (in cases where drugs are ingested as inactive compounds, known as “pro-drugs”), or to deactivate it once the drug has done its job (and to thereby prepare it for excretion from the body). Modifications of these drugs are handled by enzymes that are produced by specific genes. Collectively, the former are referred to as “drug metabolizing enzymes.” There are numerous drug metabolizing genes – and corresponding enzymes – in the body.
How is Pharmacogenomics Testing Done?
If you choose to be tested, you’ll be asked to give a buccal or cheek swab which is sent to the lab where your DNA is examined to determine your body’s response to medications.
What do the results tell you?
Results from your Pharmacogenomics testing will specifically provide information of how quickly your body metabolizes or filters a given drug. Some people are rapid metabolizers. They flush drugs quickly from their system and may not realize any befit from taking a “normal” or “one size fits all” dose. A person who is a poor metabolizer is just the opposite in a person who is a poor metabloizer a “normal” dose of medication can build up to potentially dangerous levels.

Understanding how you metabolize the medications that you prescribed allows you and your doctor to customized your treatment and determine the safest most effective dose for you.

Is there a cost for my test?
Most insurance plans cover pharmacogenomics testing. There may be a co-pay or unmet deductible depending on your individual policy.
How will i get my results?
The results of your test will be communicated by one of the lab’s genetic specialists.
How does billing work if I have insurance?
Once your insurer has processed your claim, you will receive an explanation of benefits (EOB) from the insurer informing you of the amount it will pay for your laboratory services. The EOB is not a bill. An EOB shows what amount insurance paid and what amount is patient responsibility. Patient responsibility balances may include your deductible, copayment, or other costs outlined in your terms of coverage. Please contact your insurance company for questions about your EOB.
Why didn’t my insurance company pay a claim?
You should have received an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance company that explains in detail the services as either paid or denied. If you need further assistance determining the reason(s) why your insurance company did not pay for your services, please contact your insurance carrier directly for information about its coverage policies.

About Our Services

Physical exam

Your doctor may feel areas of your body for lumps that may indicate a tumor. During a physical exam, he or she may look for abnormalities, such as changes in skin color or enlargement of an organ, that may indicate the presence of cancer.

Laboratory tests

Laboratory tests, such as urine and blood tests, may help your doctor identify abnormalities that can be caused by cancer. For instance, in people with leukemia, a common blood test called complete blood count may reveal an unusual number or type of white blood cells.

Imaging tests
Imaging tests used in diagnosing cancer may include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scan, ultrasound and X-ray, among others.
During a biopsy, your doctor collects a sample of cells for testing in the laboratory. There are several ways of collecting a sample. Which biopsy procedure is right for you depends on your type of cancer and its location. In most cases, a biopsy is the only way to definitively diagnose cancer.

In the laboratory, doctors look at cell samples under the microscope. Normal cells look uniform, with similar sizes and orderly organization. Cancer cells look less orderly, with varying sizes and without apparent organization.

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