Tests to stage

Knowing the stage helps your doctor decide which treatment you need. To find out the stage of your cancer you might need one or two tests. You may also have some of these tests if you have symptoms that could be a sign your cancer has come back after treatment.

CT scan

CT scans take pictures of your body. You might have one to find out whether your melanoma has spread to other parts of your body. 

PET-CT scan

A PET-CT scan combines a CT scan and a PET scan into one. It can show where your melanoma is and whether it has spread.

MRI scan

An MRI scan creates pictures using magnetism and radio waves. It can help to find out where the melanoma is and whether it has spread.

Lymph node ultrasound and biopsy

This test uses high frequency sound waves to look at your lymph nodes. Your doctor might take a sample (biopsy) from the lymph node if it looks abnormal. 

Sentinel lymph node biopsy

This is a test to find the first lymph node or nodes that a melanoma may spread to, and then check for cancer cells.

Blood tests

You might have blood tests to check your general health and your vitamin D levels. 

Genetic tests on your melanoma cells

Your doctors might test your melanoma cells for changes (mutations) in certain genes, such as the BRAF V600 gene. 

Last reviewed: 
22 Apr 2020
Next review due: 
21 Apr 2023
Coronavirus and cancer

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