Melanoma, the least common form of skin cancer, is also the deadliest form. Melanoma can spread to other organs in the body, such as the lungs. Early detection and treatment is essential in treating melanoma. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know when, and how far, it has spread through the body. Medical treatments to check lymph nodes, including CT Scans, MRIs, PET Scans and lymph node biopsies help, but these don’t always identify the spread of cancer soon enough for effective treatment.
Researchers at the University of Dundee UK believe they have found a blood test to detect the spread of melanoma. The blood test analyzes DNA of cells released from the tumor into the blood system. This blood test could potentially give doctors information on the stage of the disease as well as whether it has started to spread. Dr. Tim Crook, one of the researchers stated, “There’s increasing evidence that the latest treatments are more effective in these early stages. If we can identify patients whose cancer has only just started to spread, this would significantly improve the chances of beating the disease” 
The benefits of the blood test may not be limited to simply detecting the spread of cancer. According to the researchers, the blood test may also provide information for targeting treatments. The research team hopes to continue their research, creating a panel of biomarkers to “accurately detect those patients needing extra treatment to fight their melanoma.” 
Previous research provided information on using blood tests to detect the spread of melanoma. This blood test found elevated levels of seven proteins in the blood once the cancer has spread. However, those with Stage 1 or Stage 2 melanoma did not have the elevated levels. The researchers at Yale University School of Medicine planned to continue their research to “improve the value of the test by adding other markers and fine-tuning the test.” 
 “New Blood Test Could Detect Spread of Melanoma,” 2011, April 15, Amanda Chan, LiveScience.com
  “Simple Blood Test May Reveal Spread of Melanoma,” 2013, Nov. 5, Catherine Paddock, Ph.D. MedicalNewsToday.com
Published On: December 12, 2013