What to Expect at Your First Appointment at the Hereditary Cancer Program
Unlike the color of our eyes or the shape of our nose, cancer is not a trait we'd like to pass along to our children. But certain cancers can be inherited. Hereditary cancers are caused by mutations in certain genes passed from parents to children. These mutations do not guarantee cancer, but they increase your risk of developing certain cancers. Some common hereditary cancers are breast, ovarian, and colon cancer.
The Hereditary Cancer Program is a team of genetic counselors and doctors who can:
- Provide a complete evaluation of your family medical history
- Assess your risk for hereditary cancers based on your family history and genetic testing
- Make personalized screening and medical recommendations based on your results
You may be at risk of hereditary cancer if you or someone in your family has a history of:
- Cancer diagnosed under the age of 50
- More than one cancer in the same person
- Three or more relatives with the same type of cancer
- Male breast cancer
- Breast and ovarian cancer in close family members
- Colon cancer and uterine cancer in close family members
- Breast or ovarian cancer and a Jewish background
After testing, our genetic counselors will help you understand the results and provide guidance on recommended screening and management practices to help you stay healthy.
Making an Appointment at the Hereditary Cancer Program
We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get the answers you need. If you'd like to schedule an appointment with a genetic counselor at the Hereditary Cancer Program, you or your doctor may do one of the following:
- Contact us directly to schedule an appointment
- Download and fill out this referral form and fax it to our office. We will contact you to schedule within two business days to schedule an appointment.
- Fill out and submit this online form. We will contact you within two business days to schedule an appointment.
Before Your Appointment
To prepare for your first visit, we recommend talking to your family members and making a list of cancer diagnoses, ages at each diagnosis, medications and treatments they've taken, and screening practices each family member has had. Also, ask your family members if they have had genetic testing in the past. If a family member has had testing, bring a copy of the results to the appointment.
Most insurance companies typically cover your first genetic counseling appointment. We do not ask for prior authorization from your insurance company for genetic testing before the first appointment. Your counselor will discuss the cost of testing at your first visit.
On the Day of Your Visit to the Hereditary Cancer Program
Arriving at Your Appointment
Appointments for the Hereditary Cancer Program are available at the main Cincinnati Children’s location on Burnet Avenue and the Cincinnati Children’s Mason Campus. Appointments are also available at select contracted centers in Greater Cincinnati. Please make sure you know what building your appointment is in and plan for extra time to find parking.
We recommend arriving at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to allow for registration.
If you are running late, please call us to let us know.
At Your Appointment
Your first appointment can take between 30 minutes to one hour. You will meet with a licensed genetic counselor with specialized experience in medical genetics and counseling. During that first visit, you and your counselor will discuss these topics:
- Your medical history and your family's history of cancer
- The likelihood that there is hereditary cancer in your family
- The risk that you or your family members will develop cancer in the future
- The benefits and limitations of genetic testing and your genetic testing options
At the end of your first visit, the genetic counselor may recommend cancer screening or further healthcare management. It is up to you to decide whether testing would be useful for you and your family.
The counselor will provide you with information about the cost of genetic testing. The price may vary depending on the testing ordered.
After Your Visit to the Hereditary Cancer Program
The possibility of having a hereditary cancer syndrome can be confusing and frightening. You and your family can better manage your health by learning more about the syndrome, testing options, treatment and the many options you have for support.
There are many resources available to learn more about hereditary cancers or connect with families living with a hereditary cancer syndrome. Here are a few resources.