Testing Services

A Family History Risk Assessment: Family HealthLink

Discover your family’s connection to cancer and coronary heart disease (CHD).

Family HealthLink is an interactive tool that estimates risk by reviewing patterns of cancer and heart disease and related conditions in a family.

This program will help you learn more about your risk for cancer and CHD. It will help you learn what you can do to focus your screening and prevention efforts. It is a free service.

It will take about ten minutes depending on the size of your family. You will then receive a personalized risk assessment that you can share with your healthcare providers.

Visit the Family HealthLink site now.

Advanced Laparoscopic Procedures

By inserting a thin, lighted tube – called a laparoscope – through a small incision near the navel, physicians can perform many diagnostic and surgical procedures with reduced risk, discomfort and inconvenience to the patient.

Anatomic Imaging Services (Radiology)

As for any cancer, imaging of the body is necessary to determine where the cancer is located in its original site, and to determine if it has spread to other locations in the body. For thyroid cancer, there are a number of different tests that are typically used:

Ultrasonography is an imaging procedure in which high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echo patterns are shown on the screen of an ultrasound machine, forming a picture of body tissues called a sonogram. This type of study is typically the first study done to examine the thyroid, since images are very good at detecting nodules or other lumps within the gland. Ultrasonography can also detect abnormal lymph nodes in some parts of the neck. Because the pictures are obtained in “real time”, the ultrasound is often used to guide a fine needle biopsy of the thyroid or lymph nodes in order to obtain a specimen for cytology (see below)

Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
These are imaging tests which allow physicians to get a wider picture of differing parts of the body. CT scanning (“CAT scan”) uses X-rays to generate the images, whereas MRI images are generated with magnetic energy (no X-rays involved). These tests give slightly different levels of detail, so sometimes one study is preferable, depending on the circumstances. In thyroid cancer patients, studies may be done to look at the neck, chest or abdomen, or more rarely, the brain, in order to determine if there is evidence for spread of the abnormal cells.

Integrated PET-CT Imaging
A Computed Tomography (CT) scan can suggest the presence of cancer if lymph nodes are enlarged, but may not be conclusive. And while a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan is very accurate in diagnosing cancer, it may not provide good anatomic detail, making it hard for doctors to say exactly where in the body the cancer is located. An integrated PET-CT scanner, however, provides an exact picture of any suspected cancer.

Nuclear Medicine Imaging
In this method of diagnostic imaging, the patient is given a very small amount of radioactive material. The radioactive substance collects in the part of the body to be imaged, where sophisticated instruments detect it and process that information into an image. Several types of nuclear medicine imaging are used to detect tumors; each type has advantages and disadvantages, depending on the conditions and the part of the body to be imaged. For thyroid imaging, a typical study involves taking a pill or liquid containing a small amount of radioactive iodine. This agent, which is taken up only by thyroid cells (and most thyroid cancers), is then imaged by using a special camera to determine where the radioactivity (and the thyroid cells) are found in the body.

Anatomical and Molecular Pathology

A pathologist identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope. Anatomical pathologists evaluate solid tumors and suspicious tissue for the presence of cancer cells. They provide the sound scientific basis that can be coupled with clinical information to identify cancers and determine how they can be managed most appropriately.

Recent research has shown how changes in certain molecules can cause normal cells to become cancerous. For example, mutations (damage or defects) in DNA can alter important genes that regulate cell growth, and excess growth may result in cancer formation. The Molecular Pathology Laboratory at the OSU Medical Center provides state-of-the-art diagnostic testing to determine the susceptibility of individuals to develop cancer, based on their genetic constitution, as well as the identification of predictive biomarkers for disease progression and treatment response.


An angiogram or ateriogram is a series of X-rays after a dye is injected into an artery. These X-rays can show the tumor and blood vessels that lead to it.

Barium Enema

A series of X-rays of the lower gastrointestinal tract. A liquid that contains barium (a silver-white metallic compound) is put into the rectum. The barium coats the lower gastrointestinal tract and X-rays are taken. This procedure is also called a lower GI series.

Barium Swallow (Upper GI) X-rays

A series of X-rays of the esophagus. The X-ray pictures are taken after the person drinks a solution that contains barium. The barium coats and outlines the esophagus on the X-ray. Also called esophagram and upper GI series.


The removal of cells or tissues for examination by a pathologist. The pathologist may study the tissue under a microscope or perform other tests on the cells or tissue. When only a sample of tissue is removed, the procedure is called an incisional biopsy. When an entire lump or suspicious area is removed, the procedure is called an excisional biopsy. When a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle, the procedure is called a needle biopsy, core biopsy, or fine-needle aspiration.

Bisphosphonate therapy

Bisphosphonates are used to help prevent bone disesase from advancing. Bisphosphonates are substances that bind to the surface of damaged bones and reduce new bone damage, allowing the bone to rebuild. This will also reduce the amount of calcium released into the blood from bone damage.

Learn more about biophosphonates

Blood tests

Blood tests Blood tests are used to detect and examine abnormal cells and the loss of cell proteins. These include tests of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and sedimentation rate. Specific blood tests can help determine how aggressive a tumor may behave or whether a tumor is affecting the liver, kidneys or other parts of the body.

Bone marrow examination

This procedure involves inserting a thin needle into the tissue, pelvis or other large bone to withdraw a sample; a local anesthetic is used.

Bone Survey

Series of X-rays of the skull, spine, arms, ribs and legs.

Brain scan

A brain scan reveals and records abnormal areas on special film. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the vein. This dye is absorbed by the tumor and shows up on the film. The radiation leaves the body within six hours and is not dangerous.


A procedure that uses a bronchoscope to examine the inside of the trachea, bronchi (air passages that lead to the lungs), and lungs. A bronchoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. The bronchoscope is inserted through the nose or mouth. Bronchoscopy may be used to detect cancer or to perform some treatment procedures.


A procedure to look inside the rectum and colon for polyps, abnormal areas or cancer. A colonoscope is inserted through the rectum into the colon. A colonoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove polyps or tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.

Virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography)
A procedure that uses a series of X-rays called computed tomography to make a series of pictures of the colon. A computer puts the pictures together to create detailed images that may show polyps and anything else that seems unusual on the inside surface of the colon. This test is also called colonography or CT colonography

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

The computed tomography scan (also called a CT scan or CAT scan) is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called "slices"), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.

CT scans can be scheduled at three OSU Medical Center facilities:

- The 2nd floor of Doan Hall at OSU Medical Center, 410 West 10th Avenue
- Stoneridge, 4053 West Dublin-Granville Road.
- University Hospital East, 1492 East Broad Street


Cytogenetics is a subdiscipline of genetics that studies chromosomes and chromosomal abnormalities. It is useful for diagnosing, classifying, screening for, or managing genetic diseases and abnormalities, including leukemia.

Diagnostic Cytology

Cytology, the study of cells using a microscope, is used to check for the presence of cancer cells in body tissue. In diagnostic cytology, cells are collected in a biopsy, with the type of biopsy used depending on the part of the body being examined and the type of cancer suspected.

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

An examination in which a doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for abnormalities.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

A procedure that uses an endoscope to examine and X-ray the pancreatic duct, hepatic duct, common bile duct, duodenal papilla and gallbladder. An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. The endoscope is passed through the mouth and down into the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). A smaller tube (catheter) is then inserted through the endoscope into the bile and pancreatic ducts. A dye is injected through the catheter into the ducts, and an X-ray is taken.

Endoscopic Ultrasound

A procedure in which an endoscope is inserted into the body. An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument that has a light and a lens for viewing. A probe at the end of the endoscope is used to bounce high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) off internal organs to make a picture (sonogram).

Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)

Test to check for blood in the stool. Small samples of stool are placed on special cards and sent to a doctor or laboratory for testing. Blood in the stool may be a sign of colorectal cancer.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A procedure to look inside the rectum and sigmoid (lower) colon for polyps, abnormal areas, or cancer. A sigmoidoscope is inserted through the rectum into the sigmoid colon. A sigmoidoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove polyps or tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.

Flow Cytometry

The Analytical Cytometry Laboratory (ACL) is a Shared Resource facility and joint venture between the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Heart & Lung Institute. This facility provides basic and clinical investigators with modern flow cytometric hardware and software for cell characterization and sorting. Flow cytometry is a laser-based technique that is useful for measuring the number of cells in a sample, the percentage of live cells in a sample, and certain characteristics of cells, such as size, shape, and the presence of tumor markers on the cell surface.

Gallium scan

A procedure to detect areas of the body where cells are dividing rapidly. It is used to locate cancer cells or areas of inflammation. A very small amount of radioactive gallium is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. The gallium is taken up by rapidly dividing cells in the bones, tissues, and organs and is detected by a scanner.

Genetic Testing

The Clinical Cancer Genetics Program at Ohio State’s James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute offers cancer risk assessment to people who are concerned about their personal and/or family history of cancer. During a cancer risk assessment, you will meet with a genetic counselor and a doctor who specializes in cancer genetics. They will work with you to complete a family medical history. They will help you understand the role of genes in causing cancer. You will get an evaluation of how likely it is that you will develop cancer at some time in your life, or have a recurrence. Also, they will estimate the chance that a risk for cancer might be passed along through the genes in the family. You will also learn about ways that you can lower your risk of cancer, and ways to detect it early when it is most easily treated. Visit the Genetic Testing site.

High-Risk Breast Cancer Prevention Clinic

The James' High-Risk Breast Cancer Prevention Clinic is an education and prevention clinic for women with a significant family history of breast cancer. The clinic is also for women who have changes in the breast tissue that are significant for breast cancer, such as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), a pre-malignant condition, and for atypical hyperplasia, which are abnormal cells found in a biopsy.

Interventional Radiology Services

Interventional radiology (IR) is a branch of medicine in which small instruments (such as catheters) are placed into vessels or other pathways of the body, under the guidance of various imaging modalities, for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases. The imaging modalities are mostly X-ray, but also include MRI, CT, and ultrasound.

Interventional radiology is at the cutting edge of modern medicine and has brought significant improvements in patient care, because it is safer and less invasive than traditional surgical methods. IR procedures are minimally invasive and more convenient for patients because they are done with very small incisions or through natural body orifices, causing less pain, less scarring, less disfigurement, and shorter recovery times. Many IR procedures are performed on an outpatient basis or with a short hospital stay. Interventional radiologists are board certified in radiology with a specialization in percutaneous interventions using image guidance.


A procedure that uses a laparoscope, inserted through the abdominal wall, to examine the inside of the abdomen. A laparoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. Many changes in tissue can be evaluated by MRI. This information will give your doctor valuable information that is not available by other diagnostic tests. There are no known health risks to MRI.

MRI examinations can be done at three OSU Medical Center locations:

The OSU Medical Center MRI facility next to the Emergency Department and connected to Means Hall at 1630 Upham Drive. The phone number is (614) 293-8181.

The Stoneridge Imaging Center located at 4037 West Dublin-Granville Road in Dublin. The phone number is (614) 293-0054.

The University Hospital East MRI facility located on the west side of the hospital building at 1492 East Broad Street. Follow the street signs to Outpatient Registration. The entrance is under the blue canopy.


To make mammography services more convenient and accessible, JamesCare has five central Ohio locations and a mobile van. Our mobile van travels to area businesses who want to offer mammography screenings for their employees. Each location and mobile van offers the latest mammography technology, accredited by the American College of Radiology and certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Call (614) 293-0020 to make an appointment at any of our five locations and (614) 293-4455 to schedule our mobile van. Visit the Mammorgraphy resource page.

Molecular Testing

Molecular risk assessment is a procedure in which biomarkers (for example, biological molecules or changes in tumor cell DNA) are used to estimate a person's risk for developing cancer. Specific biomarkers may be linked to particular types of cancer.

MRS (Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic)

MRS (Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic) is a non-invasive method that can be used with MRI to provide information about cellular activity and degree of malignancy.


A myelogram is an X-ray of the spine. A special dye is injected into the cerebrospinal fluid in the spine, and the patient is tilted to allow the dye to mix with the fluid. This test may be done if doctor suspects a tumor in the spinal cord.

Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiography (PTC)

A procedure to X-ray the hepatic and common bile ducts. A contrasting agent is injected into the liver or bile duct, and the ducts are then x-rayed to find the point of obstruction.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan

The positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a computer-based imaging technique that uses radioactive substances to examine body processes. For example, a PET scan of the heart provides information about the flow of blood through the coronary arteries to the heart.

Serum or Urine Protein Electrophoresis

Test used to measure the levels of various proteins in the blood or serum. Uses an electrical current to sort proteins by their charge.

Serum Tumor Marker Test

A blood test that measures the amount of substances called tumor markers (or biomarkers). Tumor markers are released into the blood by tumor cells or by other cells in response to tumor cells. A high level of a tumor marker may be a sign of cancer.

Serum-Free Light Chain Analysis

The shorter of the two protein chains that make up an immunoglobulin molecule. May be of the kappa or lambda type. Light chains produced by myeloma cells are also referred to as Bence-Jones proteins.

Skull X-ray

A skull X-ray can show changes in bone or calcium deposits which are some times present in brain tumors.


A blood test that measures the amount of substances called tumor markers (or biomarkers). Tumor markers are released into the blood by tumor cells or by other cells in response to tumor cells. A high level of a tumor marker may be a sign of cancer.


A type of high-energy radiation. In low doses, x-rays are used to diagnose diseases by making pictures of the inside of the body. In high doses, x-rays are used to treat cancer.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu