It is a disease awareness day, that will take place on 26th May every year, as part of Melanoma Awareness Month.

Melanoma is the most serious and life-threatening form of skin cancer. It is also the fifth most common cancer in the UK, with over 40 new cases diagnosed every single day, and is one of the most common cancers in young people (aged 15-34).

We know that receiving a cancer diagnosis is an extremely worrying time. For patients who have been diagnosed with melanoma, a lack of knowledge about the different types of skin cancer and treatment options can leave many feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about their options.  

That’s why Melanoma UK launched a B-RAF Awareness Day (annually on 26th May) which aims to help melanoma patients and their loved ones learn more about the disease. Part of Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness month, and now in its third year, the day shines a spotlight on B-RAF mutations, empowering patients with an understanding of B-RAF status, how it is tested for and what it means for their diagnostic journey.

One of the main causes for patients to feel uncertain around melanoma could be caused by the fact that it is a complex disease. This is due to the multiple gene alterations that can play a role in its progression. Three of the most common are B-RAF, NRAS and c-KIT genes, with B-RAF being the most common, accounting for 40-50% of all melanoma patients. It is also the only mutation for which targeted therapy is available.

In recent years there have been many advancements in treatments for melanoma through precision oncology. For B-RAF mutations, targeted therapies can be used to slow or stop cancer cells growing.

However, despite its prevalence, 2021 data from a Melanoma UK patient survey showed that a third of melanoma patients are unaware of their B-RAF mutation status – which could prevent them from accessing these targeted treatment options.

Patients are at the heart of everything we do and we believe it is vital to enable patients as key participants in their care pathway. Sharing knowledge with patients and healthcare professionals on B-RAF status will also help to support the objectives of the NHS Long Term plan in giving people more tailored care when they need it through more personalised therapeutic options.

We hope that by raising awareness we can support important conversations between people with melanoma and healthcare professionals, helping to provide patients, their loved ones and care givers with the confidence and knowledge they need when speaking to their doctor and other members of their healthcare team and ultimately helping them to decide on the best form of treatment for them.

For more information:

Further information on melanoma and B-RAF click here: Lets get under the skin of it