Get more information on testing melanoma for genetic changes.
Your doctors might look to see if your melanoma cells have changes (mutations) in certain genes, such as the BRAF V600 gene. This information can help doctors decide which treatment is best for you.
Why you might have this test
Your doctors might do genetic testing on your melanoma, if you have stage 2C, stage 3 or stage 4 melanoma. This helps them make decisions about your treatment.
The results of these tests help doctors decide which type of biological therapy might help you, if you have stage 4 melanoma.
About the test
A doctor looks to see if the melanoma cells have changes (mutations) in certain genes, such as the BRAF V600 gene. About 40 to 50 out of every 100 people with melanoma skin cancers (40 - 50%) have this gene change. The change to the gene cause it to make an overactive BRAF protein. This makes cells grow and divide too fast.
If you have changes in the BRAF gene, doctors describe your melanoma as BRAF positive. If you don’t have changes, then your melanoma is BRAF negative.
You might not need any extra tests. The doctor can sometimes do genetic tests on your melanoma cells that were removed during surgery.
But sometimes the doctor needs to take another sample of your melanoma. They will tell you more about this, and about what the test will involve.