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At Stanford, we tailor the diagnostic phase of Melanoma care to each patient. If you need further testing to complete your diagnosis, your doctor and care team will work with you to determine which tests you need. Tests may include:
Biopsy (Pathology) In a biopsy, doctors try to remove most or all of the melanoma on the skin so a dermatopathologist can fully examine it under a microscope. Most patients have a biopsy diagnosis of melanoma before they are referred for treatment.
Genetics Assessment for Melanoma Genetic testing is a medical test that identifies changes in genes, chromosomes, or proteins. For melanoma, genetic testing can show whether you have gene mutations that may be targeted by drug therapy (test done on the melanoma tumor) or whether you are at risk for hereditary melanoma (test done on a sample of your blood or saliva).
Lab Tests (Blood Draws) Blood tests are not usually done for skin or lymph node melanoma, unless you are on adjuvant drug therapy for regional lymph node involvement. More advanced melanoma (involving others sites of the body) generally requires specific lab testing, especially if you are on systemic immunotherapy or targeted drugs. In this setting, blood tests can provide a variety of information, helping to plan your course of melanoma treatment.
Imaging Tests (Radiology) To obtain the most precise understanding of your melanoma, your doctor may schedule you for different types of imaging tests that show if the melanoma has spread. If you have been screened elsewhere and received abnormal results, we may perform additional imaging, if needed