Recently Diagnosed With Melanoma?
If you’ve been diagnosed with melanoma, your mind is probably overloaded with questions and worries. Worries and questions are understandable. But we have suggestions, below, to help you work through the shock of the situation.
Our first recommendation is that you identify and gather a support system around you. Your support system is people who can offer emotional, physical, and other support, now or in the future. People you trust and love can help in all sorts of ways.
We also recommend that you educate yourself thoroughly on melanoma and its treatments. Our website is the very best place to understand melanoma, so keep reading. The more knowledge you have, the more you will understand your diagnosis, potential treatment options, and goals of your care. Knowledge is empowering, which is important, because cancer can make people feel powerless.
You Don’t Have To Face Melanoma Alone
In addition to your support system, AIM is here to help you co-navigate your journey. This website provides accurate and reliable information on melanoma, including our Melanoma Learning Center, a virtual hub for all types of melanoma education for patients and caregivers. Our Peer Connect program connects newly diagnosed patients with melanoma survivors who have experience combating the disease. Our team includes a specialized physician assistant who can provide accurate answers to a wide range of melanoma questions on a confidential basis.
Practical Tips To Help You As You Start This Journey:
- Get a copy of your pathology report. Review our website sections called About Pathology Reports and Understanding Your Pathology Report to help you make sense of the terminology found in the report. If you still have questions, contact our melanoma physician assistant to ask those questions.
- Know your exact diagnosis and stage of melanoma. Knowing the exact type and stage of your melanoma will help you find useful information and make treatment decisions.
- Keep a notebook, write down all your questions, and bring it to your doctor’s appointments so you can ask all of those questions. Feeling organized and informed will help you as you work together with your doctor to make decisions.
- Consider bringing a family member or friend with you to medical appointments to listen and take notes. Sometimes it’s hard to listen and take notes at the same time; let someone help.
- Become informed about your treatment options and goals of care.
- Ask about the risks and benefits of any recommended treatment.
- Ask your doctor how much time you have to make a decision and begin treatment.
- Ask if there might be a clinical trial that is right for you.
- Take time to understand your insurance coverage. Your healthcare provider can help you determine what your policy includes.
- Get a second opinion from a melanoma specialist. Use our Find a Melanoma Specialist to find a doctor near you.
- Don’t go it alone. Maintain spiritual and emotional support from friends, family and loved ones.
The foremost thing to remember is to always have hope. We are doing a better job than ever before of treating cancer in the United States. Melanoma research is constantly evolving and there are many new treatment options for melanoma patients.