What to Ask Your Doctor About Your Melanoma Diagnosis
It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your melanoma care team. You should ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Once treatment begins, you’ll need to know what to expect and what to look for. Not all of these questions may apply to you, but getting answers to the ones that do may be helpful. We provided some questions you might want to ask.
Along with these suggested questions, make sure to write down your own questions. You might want to bring a family member or close friend to this appointment to help you remember and understand all the answers to your questions. Ask for an extended appointment with your doctor so you have ample time to discuss your questions and concerns.
Keep in mind that doctors aren’t the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, can answer some of your questions. AIM at Melanoma provides an oncology nurse-on-call, available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have. We provide this service free of charge. And of course, it’s 100% confidential.
|When You're Told You Have Melanoma||My Notes|
What stage of melanoma do I have?
How far has the melanoma spread within or beneath the skin? How thick is the melanoma?
Will I need any other tests before we decide on treatment?
Did the surgery remove all of the melanoma?
Were there concerning features on the biopsy such as ulceration or high mitotic rate?
Has the melanoma spread to other parts of my body?
If I need it, who can help me with any concerns about the costs and insurance coverage for my diagnosis and treatment?
What is my prognosis?
|When Deciding on a Melanoma Treatment Plan||My Notes|
What are my treatment options? What are the possible risks and benefits of each?
What treatment do you recommend and
What is the goal of the treatment? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
Should I get a second opinion? How do I do that? Can you recommend a doctor or cancer center?
How quickly do we need to decide on treatment?
What are the side effects of this treatment? How long are they likely to last?
What type of follow-up will I need?
What are clinical trials? Would any be appropriate for me?
Will I have a scar after treatment?
Will treatment affect my daily activities?
What are the chances of recurrence (coming back) with the treatment options we have discussed? What will we do if this happens?
Do you have written information on the different treatments I can take home? If not, where can I find additional information?
|During Melanoma Treatment||My Notes|
How will we know if the treatment is working?
Is there anything I can do to help manage side effects?
What symptoms or side effects should I tell you about right away?
How can I reach you on nights, holidays, or weekends?
Are there any limits on what I can do?
Can you suggest a mental health professional I can see if I start to feel overwhelmed, depressed, or distressed?
|After Melanoma Treatment||My Notes|
What symptoms should I watch for?
What type of follow up will I need after treatment is completed?
How will we know if the melanoma has come back? What would my options be if that happens?
Are my family members at risk for melanoma? What should I tell them to do?