Genetic counsellor contribution to the MEN patient
In the West of Scotland there is a monthly joint Genetic / Endocrine clinic aiming to centralise management and ensure appropriate screening of individuals with, or at risk of, hereditary endocrine disorders including MEN. This clinic has a designated Genetic Counsellor as well as Consultant Geneticist, Endocrine Nurses and Endocrine Clinicians. The successful collaboration between the departments has led to an increase in expertise on both sides and awareness of the other specialties role.
The role of the Genetic Counsellor includes ensuring there is an accurate family history also known as a pedigree. This pedigree can be used to very simply illustrate a great deal of information and is easily updated as the family changes. Importantly, confirmation and extension of the pedigree can identify further at risk relatives. The Genetic Counsellor can also discuss inheritance patterns and therefore risks to family members, the availability of and access to genetic analysis or testing and the timing of this e.g. childhood testing. Genetic testing is usually conducted within the genetic clinic ensuring that joint clinic appointments are prioritised for those requiring endocrine investigations. It is therefore important that the Genetic Counsellor liases with both Endocrine Staff and the patients, ensuring seamless transition between these services. Patients then attend the joint clinic annually and are offered extra support when appropriate.