Talking to Your Doctor About Melanoma
You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with melanoma. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can make the best choices for you and your family
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it simpler for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions beforehand so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help, if needed.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What is stage is it in?
- Was it caught early or has it spread?
About Your Risk of Developing Melanoma
- Based on my health past, habits, and family history, am I at risk?
About Treatment Options
- How do I best treat melanoma?
- What other methods are there?
- What are the risks and benefits?
- How long will the treatment last?
- What side effects can I expect?
- What will I need to change in my daily routine?
- How will I feel during treatment?
- How can I take care of myself during treatment?
- What will we do if the treatment fails?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Do I need to stay out of the sun?
- Do I have to give up swimming and other outdoor recreation?
- How can I protect myself if I work outdoors?
About Your Outlook
- How likely is it that my treatments will lead to a cure?
- How will I know if my treatment program is working?
- Should I join a clinical trial?
- Do you know of any support groups I can join?
- Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed May 7, 2019.
- Melanoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115302/Melanoma. Updated March 26, 2019. Accessed May 7, 2019.
- What should you ask your health care team about melanoma skin cancer? American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/talking-with-doctor.html. Updated May 20, 2016. Accessed May 7, 2019.
- Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
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