Deep Bench: Treatment for advanced melanoma patients shows promise

(WZAW) -- Melanoma is the most serious and life-threatening type of skin cancer. It is almost always treatable when caught early, but if it metastasizes, or spreads to other parts of the body, it becomes difficult to treat.

At the recent ASCO meeting, the world’s largest clinical cancer research meeting, researchers reported encouraging news from The New England Journal of Medicine for people with metastatic melanoma who have the BRAF genetic mutation.

The data supports results seen in earlier analyses of patients with advanced melanoma treated with Tafinlar and Mekinist combination therapy.

With summer comes a heightened awareness of skin cancer. Applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding tanning beds are all important precautions you can take against the disease. For those already living with skin cancer, however, this data underscores how important it is that patients with stage III and stage IV melanoma talk to their doctor about getting tested for their BRAF mutation. Knowing their BRAF status is a key piece of information when evaluating all available treatment options.

On the Deep Bench, Dr. Adil Daud, an oncologist who specializes in skin cancer, provided his clinical perspective on what the report means for patients with advanced melanoma and why they should talk to their doctors about BRAF testing.

He also offered tips on sun protection, screening, genetic testing and how to be a partner with your doctor.

Dr. Daud was be accompanied by one of his patients, Colleen, who was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and has been on the study’s medication for 5 years.