Hereditary Cancer Program

Hereditary Cancer Program

If you have a family history of cancer and you’re concerned about your risk, our genetic counselors can provide answers. In fact, we’re known for our expertise — we’re the only cancer program in Northern Kentucky with a team of genetic counselors on-site. Our genetic counselors have more than 40 years of combined experience.

When you know your risk, you can take steps to prevent cancer or identify disease early, when it’s treated most successfully.  Although the majority of cancer is due to non-genetic factors — such as environment, lifestyle or age —  about 10 percent of cancer is the result of a gene mutation that can be passed down from generation to generation. This is what’s called hereditary cancer.

Genetic testing can tell you if you carry a cancer gene mutation and determine if you’re at higher risk of developing certain cancers — or a second cancer, if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer.

Who Should Be Tested

This testing is most appropriate for individuals with:

  • A strong family history of breast cancer.
  • A personal history of breast cancer diagnosed prior to age 50.
  • Multiple primary diagnoses of breast cancer or bilateral breast cancer.
  • A personal or family history of ovarian cancer (with or without breast cancer present in the family history).
  • A family history of multiple BRCA-related cancers as previously mentioned.

Testing for BRCA1/BRCA2 is not permitted for minors (an individual must be at least 18-years-old to have the testing) due to medical ethics concerns, as these cancer risks are specific to adulthood.

Schedule your Appointment Today

Contact your primary care provider or your Precision Medicine and Genetics Team.

1 Medical Village Drive
Edgewood, KY 41017

859-301-GENE (4363)



Leading the Way in the Region

St. Elizabeth is the first and only center in the region to offer universal genetic testing to all patients diagnosed with breast cancer. In the past, genetic testing was reserved for a small subset of cancer patients. However, recent studies are suggesting that this approach may be missing a significant number of people with a risk of cancer that is “running in the family.” In line with our mission for health and prevention in Northern Kentucky, we now offer this test to all women with a diagnosis who wish to address this concern. In addition to breast cancer, universal genetic testing is also offered to all patients with pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, and advanced prostate cancer.

In another effort to provide cutting edge care to our patients, St. Elizabeth also now offers genetic testing for metabolic response to certain chemotherapy drugs. This type of testing, called Pharmacogenomic Screening, will be discussed with you by your oncologist if you are an appropriate candidate for testing. Click here to learn more.

How Genetic Testing Can Help

Genetic testing results provide important information and can:

  • Guide your cancer care team in planning your treatment (if you’ve already been diagnosed with cancer).
  • Help your care team manage your increased cancer risks through screening and prevention education.
  • Provide information for your family members

Personalized Genetic Counseling

Genetic counseling can help you understand hereditary cancer and the benefits and limitations of genetic testing. Our specially trained genetic counselors help you make informed decisions about genetic testing, cancer treatment and screening plans. We offer support and resources to help you handle the emotional impact that genetic testing results may have on you and your family.

Your “Home” for Cancer Prevention

Now what? Learning you have an increased lifetime risk of cancer, or an increased risk of second cancer, can be overwhelming. Cancer prevention recommendations may fall outside the scope of “routine” care, and they are ever-changing with new discoveries in the fields of genetics and cancer. For this reason, St. Elizabeth recently opened a Cancer Prevention Clinic, staffed by oncology and genetic specialists. We help develop your cancer prevention plan and work with you and your care providers to ensure that you are receiving the right care at the right time, year after year.

Cancer Genetic Counseling and Testing FAQ

If any of the following describe you or a family member, consider meeting with a genetic counselor:

  • Breast cancer at any age.
  • Ovarian cancer at any age.
  • Advanced prostate cancer, or any stage in the presence of family history.
  • Two or more primary diagnoses of cancer or bilateral cancer (both breasts, both kidneys, etc.).
  • Male breast cancer.
  • Colon cancer at any age.
  • Uterine cancer before the age of 60.
  • Rare cancers, such as pancreatic cancer or sarcomas, (cancer that develops from certain tissues, such as bone or muscle).

If possible, talk with your relatives about your family’s history of cancer — specifically the type of cancer and the age of the family member when cancer was diagnosed. If you or a relative has had genetic testing, please bring a copy of the result to your appointment. It’s also helpful to write down questions for the genetic counselor. You’re welcome to bring a friend or family member with you to your appointment.

Your genetic counselor will ask you about your personal medical history and family history of cancer. Your counselor will:

  • Educate you about hereditary cancer and inheritance.
  • Explain possible test results and provide follow-up recommendations.
  • Discuss possible test results and determine if testing is right for you.”

You’ll have the option to have genetic testing on the day of your appointment. If you decide to have genetic testing, you’ll have a blood sample drawn.

Once the results are available, your genetic counselor will call you and explain your results in detail. You’ll learn:

  • How your results may impact your future cancer screenings and your family members.
  • Whether increased cancer screening is recommended for you.

You’ll receive a written report in the mail following your visit. In addition, we offer follow-up visits to talk with your counselor in person. Your consultation and results are treated with the same privacy and respect as your other personal health information.

Most insurance plans cover genetic testing if there are appropriate risk factors for testing. During your session, your genetic counselor can explain the billing process for testing. Most genetic labs will verify your insurance coverage and notify you about any out-of-pocket expense before beginning the test. In most cases, you don’t need to call your insurance provider before your counseling appointment.

We recommend you always discuss your concerns about your personal or family history of cancer with your primary care provider. Although your doctor can refer you to genetic counseling, you don’t need a referral to schedule an appointment.

Schedule a Screening Today

Call Us to Schedule a Visit

Contact your primary care provider to learn more or call our Precision Medicine and Genetics team.


Our office is located in the Edgewood Cancer Center.