Talking to Your Health Care Provider about Melanoma
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or health care provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with melanoma. By talking openly and regularly with your health care provider, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your health care provider:
- 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 ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Health Care Provider
- What is the stage of my melanoma?
- Was it caught early or has it spread?
About Treatment Options
How do I best treat melanoma?
- What other options are there?
- What are the risks and benefits associated with this treatment plan?
- How long will my treatments last?
- What side effects can I expect?
- What will I need to change in my daily routine?
- How will I feel during treatment?
- What will I need to do to take care of myself during the treatment period?
- What will we do if the treatment does not succeed?
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 kill all the cancer cells?
- How will I know if my treatment program is effective?
- Should I consider participating in a clinical trial?
- Do you know of any other patients I can talk with or support groups I can join?
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Last reviewed February 2003 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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