At least 10 percent of cancer cases are caused by hereditary factors (genes) passed down from one generation of a family to the next. Knowing whether you have inherited a cancer-related gene may help you and your doctors determine a plan for early detection and prevention that’s right for you.

Making sense of your personal and family history

The Risk Assessment and Genetics Program is offered at Main Line Health locations throughout the Philadelphia suburbs and is available to anyone concerned about cancer risk due to a personal or family history of cancer. To help determine whether you might benefit from a consultation with us, consider the following questions:

  • Have you or any relatives been diagnosed with cancer at a young age (at or under age 50)?
  • Have you or any relatives been diagnosed with more than one type of cancer?
  • Have you or any relatives been diagnosed with a rare cancer such as adrenocortical, male breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer?
  • Have you or any relatives had 10 or more colorectal polyps over your lifetime
  • Have you or any relatives tested positive for a gene mutation that increases cancer risk?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, or if you have concerns about your inherited risk, you may wish to meet with one of our certified genetic counselors. During the consultation, we will gather more information about your personal medical history and family cancer history. If inherited risk is suspected, we will discuss the option of genetic testing with you. Genetic testing requires a blood or saliva sample, which can be provided at the time of your appointment. Most insurance plans cover the costs of genetic consultation and testing.

What to expect at your appointment

Risk Assessment and Genetics Program consultations include:

  • An information session with a certified genetic counselor who will provide an overview of cancer risk factors, including genetics, lifestyle and environment
  • A detailed, cancer-specific evaluation of your personal and family history, including a discussion about cancer and inherited risks
  • Discussion of appropriate management guidelines
  • Coordination of genetic testing, when appropriate, and interpretation of results
  • Referral resources for follow-up and support

Are cancer risk assessments covered by insurance?

Most insurances cover the costs of genetic consultation and testing. If you have concerns about whether or not your insurance will cover these services, please feel free to contact us.

Patient forms

These forms can be completed and brought to your initial appointment.

The following optional form may be filled out to enable release of your genetic testing information to your relatives or physicians, or for release of your records at another provider to the Risk Assessment and Genetics Program.

Opportunities for research

Based on your personal history, and/or your genetic test result, you may be eligible to participate in research studies. If you are interested in potential research opportunities, please contact the genetics program to learn more.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 484.565.GENE (4363) Monday–Friday, 8:00 am–4:00 pm.