NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Melanoma

26 NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® : Melanoma, 2018 2  Tests for melanoma Imaging tests During the test, you will lie on a table that will move slowly through the tunnel as the machine takes many pictures. Then a computer will combine all the pictures into one detailed picture. Imaging tests can take 15 to 60 minutes to complete. A computer combines the x-ray pictures to make detailed pictures of organs and tissues inside the body. Before the test, you may be given a contrast dye to make the pictures clearer. The dye may be put in a glass of water for you to drink, or it may be injected into your vein. It may cause you to feel flushed or get hives. Rarely, serious allergic reactions occur. Tell your doctor if you have had bad reactions before. MRI scan MRI ( m agnetic r esonance i maging) uses radio waves and powerful magnets to take pictures of the inside of the body. MRI is very useful for looking at the soft tissues, brain, spinal cord, and specific areas in the bone. An MRI scan may cause your body to feel a bit warm. PET/CT scan PET/CT ( p ositron e mission tomography/ c omputed t omography) shows how your cells are using a simple form of sugar. To make the pictures, a sugar radiotracer first needs to be injected into your vein. The radiotracer lets out a small amount of energy that is seen by the machine that takes pictures. PET scans are usually combined with CT (PET/CT). Cancer cells use sugar faster than normal cells, so they look brighter in the pictures. The CT portion of the scanner allows the computer to make a three- dimensional picture of sugar use throughout the body. Ultrasound An ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to take pictures of the inside of the body. This test is sometimes used to get a better look at lymph nodes near the first (primary) melanoma tumor in certain cases. For example, your doctor may consider this test if findings during the physical lymph node exam were unclear. Or, it may be used if you opted not to have other lymph node tests or procedures such as a sentinel lymph node biopsy or lymph node dissection. For this test, you will lie on a table and have a gel spread over your skin in the area of the lymph nodes. Your doctor will then glide a hand-held device back and forth over the gel area. This device sends out sound waves that bounce off the lymph nodes and other tissues in your body to make echoes. A computer uses the echoes to make a picture of the lymph nodes, shown on a computer screen. Your medical records: ü Your doctors will order tests and schedule visits to talk about your care plan. ü It is helpful to keep track of your test results at all times. Ask your doctors questions about the results.