The Morning Blend


Skin Cancer Alert

Posted at 10:04 AM, Aug 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 10:08:01-04

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 unresectable or metastatic melanoma – the most aggressive form of skin cancer – who have the BRAF genetic mutation.

These data support results seen in earlier analyses of patients with advanced melanoma treated with Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib) 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 July 31st, we invite you to speak to Dr. Adil Daud, co-director, Melanoma Clinical Research, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Daud did not participate in the published 5-year survival study but he can provide his clinical perspective what it means for patients with advanced melanoma, and why they should talk to their doctors about BRAF testing. He will also offer tips on sun protection, screening, genetic testing and how to be a partner with your doctor.

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