Hereditary Cancer and Genetic Testing

Guidelines for genetic testing in people diagnosed with melanoma

People diagnosed with melanoma may have an inherited mutation that caused their cancer. Experts recommend that people who have been diagnosed with melanoma should speak with a genetics expert about genetic testing if they have any of the following:

  • diagnosed with three or more melanomas.
  • three or more diagnoses of melanoma, pancreatic cancer, astrocytoma, uveal melanoma (melanoma in the eyes) and/or mesothelioma within their family.

See our sections Testing Guidelines by Cancer Type and Genetic Testing for People Who Have Never Been Diagnosed with Cancer for additional guideline information. 




Healthcare providers who are specially trained in genetics can help people diagnosed with cancer learn if it was caused by an inherited mutation. There are several ways to find a genetics expert:

  • The National Society of Genetic Counselor website offers a searchable directory for finding a genetic counselor by state and specialty. To find a genetic counselor who specializes in cancer genetics, choose "cancer" under the options "Area of Practice/Specialization." 
  • InformedDNA is a network of board-certified genetic counselors providing this service by telephone. They can also help you find a qualified expert in your area for face-to-face genetic counseling if that is your preference. 
  • Grey Genetics provides access to genetic counselors who offer genetic counseling by telephone. 
  • The Genetic Support Foundation offers genetic counseling with board-certified genetic counselors. 
  • FORCE's toll-free helpline at: 866-288-RISK, ext. 704, can connect you with a volunteer board-certified genetic counselor who can answer general questions about genetic testing and hereditary cancer and help you find a genetic counselor near you. 
  • FORCE Peer Navigator Program will match you with a volunteer who has undergone genetic counseling and can help you navigate resources to find a genetic counselor near you.
  • Ask your doctor for a referral to a genetics expert. 

If you are considering genetic testing, you can find peer support through the following resources:

Last updated July 20, 2020