Hearing your doctor say you have advanced melanoma can bring up a lot of emotions. It can be helpful to have a better understanding of what melanoma is.

Melanoma is a kind of skin cancer. It starts when the cells that give the skin its tan or brown color, called melanocytes, grow out of control and form tumors. Melanoma tumors are often brown or black, but can also be pink, tan, or sometimes even white. These tumors often first appear on the chest and back in men, and on the legs for women. However, they can appear anywhere on the body, either raised or flat, depending on how they develop.

As the disease progresses, it can spread to other parts of the body, particularly if it’s not detected and treated early. This process is called “metastasis.”

Melanoma is expected to be the 5th most prevalent cancer in the US in 2020

Risk factors can include:

  • A family history
  • A previous history of melanoma
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Exposure to UV light (including sun and indoor tanning)

What is the BRAF V600 mutation?

In healthy cells, the BRAF protein helps to regulate normal cell growth. In some melanoma cells, a specific error, or mutation, occurs in the BRAF gene (known as BRAF V600). This may lead to abnormal growth and causes cells to duplicate. This abnormal growth of melanoma cells can cause the melanoma to spread to other parts of the skin or body.

It’s important to have your healthcare provider check to see if your tumor contains a BRAF V600 mutation, so that together you can develop the best plan for your treatment.

How treatment may help

Learn more about the potential benefits and possible risks

How TECENTRIQ with COTELLIC® (cobimetinib) and ZELBORAF® (vemurafenib) are thought to work 

Discover how treatment can help you fight your cancer