Only a Healthcare Professional Can Diagnose Melanoma
If your healthcare professional suspects melanoma, they will first perform a skin biopsy, which means taking a tissue sample for examination by a pathologist. This can involve removing the entire lesion or a portion of it. A diagnosis of melanoma can only be confirmed through analysis of the biopsy specimen under a microscope.
If the pathologist makes a diagnosis of melanoma, they will then look for features such as tumor thickness and whether it is ulcerated to determine the melanoma stage. Knowing the stage can help to estimate the risk of recurrence or metastasis – including the likelihood that your melanoma may have spread to the sentinel lymph nodes (the first lymph nodes to which your melanoma could have spread).
After the Biopsy - Genomic Testing May Be Right
Based on the information provided by the pathologist, your dermatologist may discuss additional surgical options to completely remove your melanoma (such as a wide local excision). They may also discuss performing a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) surgical procedure, in which nearby lymph nodes are checked for cancer cells, to help determine whether the cancer has spread to those lymph nodes.
A genomic test called DecisionDx®-Melanoma may help you and your healthcare professional make a more informed decision regarding whether an SLNB surgical procedure is appropriate for you. The test looks at the biology of your melanoma to predict how aggressive your melanoma may be. It has been shown to predict the risk of recurrence independently from the tumor features noted above. This is important because adding information about the biology of your tumor can help you and your healthcare professional make a more informed decision about whether an SLNB surgical procedure is appropriate for you. The test can also help determine an appropriate level of post-surgical management, such as imaging or referrals to an oncologist.
Learn How DecisionDx®-MelanomaCan Predict the Risk of Your Melanoma Recurring or Spreading