If you were diagnosed with Stage I or II melanoma and decided that you want to have the DecisionDx™-Melanoma gene test performed, there are several important things to know.
First, the same biopsy tissue used to make your diagnosis can be used to perform the DecisionDx-Melanoma test, which is preferable since these specimens usually have a good number of melanoma cells present.
Alternately, the test may be performed on the tissue collected during excisional surgery, provided there are adequate melanoma cells remaining (see Surgery and Post-Operative Treatment). Your doctor must complete a requisition form and provide information about where your tumor tissue is maintained. Only a licensed physician or other appropriate healthcare provider can place this order.
Upon receipt, the tumor sample is processed to measure the activity of 31 genes within the melanoma tumor to identify each patient’s individual risk of metastasis. Results are typically ready within 2 to 3 weeks of Castle Biosciences receiving the sample.
Results from the gene expression test are intended, in conjunction with traditional staging, to help you and your doctor make a more informed decision about the management of your disease.
The last thing on your mind at this time should be how you’re going to pay for the test. For this reason, Castle Biosciences will work on your behalf with Medicare, commercial insurance providers and, in some cases, your doctor’s institution to secure payment coverage for the test. Castle has also put a Patient Assistance Program in place for patients who need it.