Healthcare Services and Programs

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 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.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (614) 566-GENE (4363). Visit OhioHealth Cancer Care to learn more about the OhioHealth personalized approach to cancer care.

OhioHealth Locations for Cancer Genetic Counseling and Testing
Riverside Methodist Hospital
Grant Medical Center
 Doctors Hospital
Grady Memorial Hospital


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 one 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, including:
    • What type of cancer?
    • Age at diagnosis?
    • Include both sides of the family and several generations
  • Make copies of any medical reports 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 (e.g., if there's a positive genetic test result or additional testing is recommended).

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