What Happens After I’m Diagnosed With Melanoma?
When you or someone you love is first diagnosed with melanoma, it may be difficult to process. A melanoma diagnosis can arrive suddenly and unexpectedly, and many patients feel like life has changed in an instant.
With Melanoma, No Question Is Unimportant
Any medical diagnosis can be difficult to come to terms with, and melanoma is an especially tough diagnosis to receive. Because melanoma is so complex, it can be difficult to realize what you don’t understand and what you don’t know. Being educated and informed will help you understand your diagnosis and make any decisions about your melanoma treatment. Ask your doctor questions until you’re satisfied with and fully understand the answers your doctor has given you. If you need help with questions, we’ve got you covered: You can find general questions about a melanoma diagnosis here and questions specific to each stage on those pages. Take notes, and if you need clarification, follow up with more questions.
Get A Second Opinion
Sometimes patients feel as though they are insulting their doctor by getting a second opinion. Nothing could be further from the truth: Second opinions are a normal part of the medical world, and physicians know many of their patients will seek one. A second opinion may be especially important for anyone who has been diagnosed with a late stage melanoma, but you can seek a second opinion for any stage of melanoma. Even though a cancer diagnosis feels like a medical emergency, there is almost always time to get a second opinion, and it can often provide much needed information. Getting a second opinion may confirm your doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan, provide more details about your stage or type of melanoma, or suggest a different course of action. Having a second doctor weigh in on your diagnosis and treatment may help you fully understand all your options. Obtaining a second opinion is something you shouldn’t hesitate to do, and most doctors will expect you to get one, especially with a late-stage melanoma diagnosis. Remember, you are your own best advocate, and you have every right to seek a second opinion.
Find Others Who Have Stood In Your Shoes
Never underestimate the power of support from others who are living with melanoma. Knowing that others have had similar experiences and have survived melanoma may make all the difference in how you take on the challenge of defeating melanoma. When you are feeling supported, you are better able to tackle difficult subjects such as treatment decisions.
AIM at Melanoma offers a peer support program called Peer Connect, which pairs newly diagnosed patients with survivors who have “been there” and can share their experiences.
Take Advantage Of Us
Ever heard the phrase, “Know thy enemy”? Well, as a newly diagnosed patient, melanoma is your enemy. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. But by increasing your knowledge of this disease, you will be better able to understand what is happening with your cancer and make any necessary treatment decisions. We’re here to arm you with accurate, up-to-date, and helpful information so you understand what you’re up against. Take advantage of all the valuable resources we have to offer.