The genetic counseling program at the OSUCCC – James provides leading-edge cancer risk assessment in a caring, supportive environment of world-class medical expertise, education and translational research. 

Our genetic counselors are an important part of our multidisciplinary team and work with each patient to develop a cancer risk assessment based on his or her unique family history and genetic background.

What Is a Cancer Risk Assessment?

During a cancer risk assessment, you will meet with specialists in cancer genetics. 

They will work with you to complete a family medical history and help you understand the role genes play in causing cancer. They will give you an estimate of your risk of developing cancer based on your family history and genetics. They will also estimate the chance that cancer might be passed along through your genes to other members of your family. 

Cancer is most easily treatable when it is in the early stages. Experts will discuss ways to detect cancer early, as well as ways to lower your risk of developing cancer. 

The appointment usually lasts one to two hours.

What About Genetic Testing?

Genetic testing for various cancer types is possible for some families. This will be discussed during your appointment. We will help you and your family decide if testing is right for you. Testing involves providing a blood or saliva sample and should begin with a family member who has had cancer. 

We will discuss any concerns you may have about genetic testing, such as cost, insurance coverage and laws protecting you from genetic discrimination.

Who Should Have a Cancer Risk Assessment? 

  • A person with a “strong” family history of cancer — having two or more close relatives on the same side of the family with the same or related cancers, especially if the cancers occurred at a young age 
  • A person who had cancer at an early age or who had more than one kind of cancer 
  • A person from a family that is known to have an inherited cancer syndrome 
  • A person with a rare cancer such as breast cancer in a man or an adrenal gland tumor
  • A person who is very anxious about his or her cancer risk based on his or her family history 
  • A person who wants to know more about the role of genes in cancer

Although no one can predict exactly who will develop cancer, there are ways to find out who may be at higher risk. To find out about your cancer risk, speak to your doctor about having a complete cancer risk assessment. 

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 health care providers, with your approval.

Will My Insurance Cover Cancer Risk Assessment?

We partner with most health insurance companies. Like other specialists’ services, our services are often covered. 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 doctor.

What Is Your Cancer Risk?

Family HealthLink is a user-friendly online tool that estimates cancer risk by reviewing patterns of cancer in your family. It is a free service from Ohio State designed to help you learn more about your risk for cancer and coronary heart disease and the steps you can take to focus your prevention efforts. 

What Is the Role of Research?

The Clinical Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James is also dedicated to improving patient care and outcomes through research. Current cancer genetic research initiatives include:

  • Studies to allow people with a personal or family history of cancer to store DNA samples for ongoing and future research projects.
  • Studies to identify new genes involved in familial papillary thyroid cancer, colon cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, squamous cell skin cancer and others.
  • Studies offered to high-risk people to identify genetic, hormonal, reproductive and lifestyle factors that are associated with the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

If you are contemplating a clinical cancer risk assessment, if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to a genetic counselor, we are here to help you. Call 614-293-6694 or toll-free 1-888-329-1654, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST with your questions or to make an appointment.

Appointment Forms

Patients are asked to provide a confidential, detailed family history prior to appointment day. If you are being seen in our Cancer Genetics Clinic, please fill out this online form.

If you are unable to complete family history using the above link, please complete and return this PDF form.

You can submit your completed PDF family history form by:

Fax: 614-293-2314
Mail: Genetics
         2012 Kenny Rd., Room 261
         Columbus, OH 43221 

The James Cancer-Free World Podcast

Genetic mutations can cause cancer. In today’s episode, we talk with Heather Hampel, LGC, a genetic counselor at The James. She discusses the breast cancer gene and the colon cancer gene, the difference between hereditary and acquired mutations, and the red flags in someone’s family history that indicate problems.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

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