Learn your hereditary cancer risk, protect your loved ones.
The OhioHealth Genetic Counseling Program
Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment
When several members of the same family have had the same or related cancers, there is a greater likelihood that the risk for cancer is hereditary. The only way to know for sure is through a cancer risk assessment.
The OhioHealth Genetic Counseling and Testing Program is your source for a comprehensive and informative hereditary cancer risk assessment. WE provide the expertise and caring support to help identify if the cancer in your family is hereditary and to help you and your physician make choices for your best ongoing care.
Commonly Asked Questions
What is Hereditary Cancer?
Hereditary cancer results from changes in the genetic information (our genes) that is passed from parents to their children.
- Individuals with an inherited gene mutation have an increased risk of developing cancer.
- 5-10% of all cancers are hereditary (or 1 in 10 cancers).
- However, a family history of cancer does not always mean that there is a hereditary risk for cancer in the family.
How Do I Know if I am at Risk for Hereditary Cancer?
You might be at risk for hereditary cancer if you or your family has a history of:
- Cancer diagnosed under the age of 50 years
- More than one cancer in the same person
- Two or more relatives with the same type of cancer on the same side of the family
- Male breast cancer
- Rare cancers
- Ashkenazi Jewish (Eastern European) ancestry
- Clustering of cancer in a family (i.e. breast and ovarian or colorectal and uterine)
Will my Insurance cover Genetic Counseling and Testing?
- Most insurance providers cover genetic testing 80-100% if medically indicated.
- Genetic counseling is also covered by most insurance providers. We encourage you to contact your insurance provider directly if you have questions about coverage for this appointment.
What if I Don’t Have Insurance?
As a not-for-profit charitable organization, OhioHealth provides a generous charity care policy and provides a cancer risk assessment regardless of a person’s ability to pay. If testing is recommended, additional programs are available for patients who don’t have insurance or coverage.
Can I lose my health insurance if I have a hereditary cancer syndrome?
There are state and federal laws in place to protect you. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) is a federal law passed in 2008. GINA applies to group health insurance plans and self-insurance plans.
GINA states that genetic information CANNOT:
- be used to determine eligibility for health insurance or be used to raise your premium
- be considered a pre-existing condition
- be requested by your employer or be used to determine employment decisions (such as hiring, firing or promotions)
What about disability and life insurance?
There are no laws protecting these types of insurance. Life insurance companies could use genetic test results to determine rates. These companies do ask for your personal and family history information to determine your risk level. Some people consider obtaining life insurance policies before having genetic testing.
How do I Prepare for My Appointment?
- Collect information about family members who have had cancer:
- What type of cancer?
- Age at diagnosis?
- Include both sides of the family and several generation
- Make copies of any medical reports that you have
- Think about how you might feel talking about cancer or your risk for cancer
- Consider bringing a support person to your appointment
What will happen at my Appointment?
Appointment #1 – Phone Consultation
You will speak with a genetic nurse who will review your family history and personal medical history. This includes information on all family members even if they have never had cancer.
Appointment #2 – Genetic Counseling
You will meet with a genetic counselor. This appointment includes a detailed discussion of:
- The likelihood that the cancers in a family are hereditary
- The risks, benefits, and limitations of genetic testing
- Available screening and risk reduction options
If you proceed with genetic testing, we will assist with the lab work and processing.
You may choose to receive your genetic results by telephone or schedule a results appointment. A follow-up genetic counseling appointment may be recommended for some individuals (i.e. positive genetic test result, additional testing recommended, etc.).
After Your Appointments
Following your appointments, you and your referring physician will receive a detailed letter that summarizes the information discussed. At your request, we will send a copy of this letter to other physicians or family members. We can also help you write your own letter to family members to inform them of your results and any steps they should take.
“The professionals in the OhioHealth Genetic Counseling Program were educated, respectful, patient and understanding as they answered my many questions in a quiet, non-stressful and comfortable atmosphere. They helped me decide what was best for me. I am very thankful for the opportunity to hear my test results in the same calming environment. Because of the knowledge and support provided to me and my family, I am confident my decision to use the services of the OhioHealth Genetic Counseling Program was the best choice for me.”
- Lisa Porter, Genetics Patient
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (614) 566-GENE (4363).
OhioHealth Cancer Genetic Counseling and Testing is available at four OhioHealth locations:
Riverside Methodist Hospital
Grant Medical Center
Delaware Health Center
|Good to Know
Percentage of cancers that are hereditary.