What to Ask Your Doctor about Stage IV Melanoma

When your doctor tells you that you have cancer, it can often be overwhelming. However, it is important to use the time when you are with your doctor to learn as much about your cancer as you can.

Your doctor will provide you some important information about your diagnosis. It is often helpful to bring a friend or family member with you. Friends can lend morale support and help you by asking questions, and help you understand what your doctor has said.

The following questions relate to some of the most important aspects of a melanoma diagnosis and can serve as a guide to help you focus on what questions to ask your doctor.

Remember, it is ALWAYS okay to ask your doctor to repeat or clarify something they have said so that you can better understand it.

You may find it helpful to print out these questions and bring them with you to your next doctor’s visit.

Diagnosis Questions Your Notes

How was it determined that I have Stage IV melanoma?

Where has my melanoma spread?

Is my brain involved?

Will I need additional tests or procedures to confirm the stage of my disease?

Treatment Questions Your Notes

Was I tested for the BRAF mutation? Should I be tested for the NRAS or C-KIT mutation?

What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?

Should I consider immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or chemotherapy to treat my melanoma? Why?

What are the possible side effects of these treatments?

Will the treatments affect my ability to work?

Do I need radiation therapy?

Can I use complementary or alternative therapies? Why or why not?

What is my prognosis?

What type of follow-up will I need?

Do I need regular scans? Do I need a brain scan?

Should I get a second opinion?

Clinical Trial Questions Your Notes

What are clinical trials?

Should I consider enrolling in a clinical trial? Why or why not?

Do you participate in any clinical trials?

Should I be referred to a center that has clinical trials?

You Should Also Ask Your Notes

How often should I go for a skin exam?

What can I do to reduce my risks of developing another melanoma?

What is the risk of my family members developing melanoma?

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