The National Institutes of Health has published a very helpful primer and home reference for patients and physicians on DTC-GT that is recommended reading for all physicians, including otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons (“Genetics Home Reference.” Published July 20, 2017.).
This extensive informed consent process—a necessary component of autonomy, which is a cornerstone of medical ethics—is incomplete in direct-to-consumer genetic testing.
Privacy and Protection
A major concern for both physicians and medical ethicists with regard to DTC-GT is the lack of a fully informed consent process. As surgeons, we routinely use this process, both for the protection of the patient and our own professional protection, but also as an ethical responsibility to provide the patient with as much information as possible to make the best decision for their personal health. The patient is encouraged to ask questions to better understand the risks and benefits, and the surgeon