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Frequently Asked Questions

It’s natural to have many questions about genetic cancer counseling and services. Here are some common questions individuals have.

What is cancer risk assessment?

During a "cancer risk assessment" you will meet with a genetics counselor and doctor who specialize in cancer genetics. They will work with you to complete a family medical history, and help you understand the role of genes in causing cancer. They will then give you an estimate of how likely it is that you will develop cancer at some time in your life. The genetics counselor and physician will also estimate the chance that a risk for cancer might be passed along through the genes in your family. You will also learn about ways you can lower your risk of getting cancer, and ways to find it early, the time at which it is most easily treated. This appointment usually lasts 2 hours.


Who should have cancer risk assessment?

  • A person with a "strong" family history of cancer. A strong history is having two or more close relatives on the same side of the family with the same or related cancers, especially if the cancer occurred at young ages.
  • A person who has cancer at an early age, or who had more than one kind of cancer, or who had a close family member with the above.
  • A person from a family that is known to have an inherited cancer syndrome.
  • A person with a rare cancer, for example, breast cancer in a man or adrenal gland tumor.
  • A person who is very anxious about their risk based on their family history.
  • A person who wants to know more about the role of genes in cancer.

What about genetic testing?

Genetic testing is possible for some families. This will be discussed during your appointment. We will help you and your family to decide if testing is right for you. Testing involves having a blood sample drawn and should begin with a family member who has had cancer. We will discuss any concerns you may have about genetic testing.

Will my insurance cover cancer risk assessment?

We participate with many health insurance companies. Our services are often covered like any other specialist. However, every insurance plan is different. You may want to check the terms of your plan before your appointment. Some insurance plans require a referral from your primary/family doctor in order to get coverage for our services.

Who will be able to see this information?

The privacy of your health and family information is very important to us. We only give this information to family members or other healthcare providers with your approval.

For additional assistance contact us at:

Clinical Cancer Genetics Program
OSU Innovation Centre
2001 Polaris Parkway
Columbus OH 43240
Phone 614-293-6694 or toll-free 888-329-1654
Fax: 614-293-2314