Skin Cancer: Basal and Squamous Cell

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What should you ask your doctor about basal and squamous cell skin cancers?

It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your doctor. You should feel free to ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • What type of skin cancer do I have?
  • Can you explain the different types of skin cancer?
  • Has my cancer grown deeply into the skin? Has it spread to lymph nodes or other organs?
  • Do I need any other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Do I need to see any other doctors?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • What are my treatment options? What do you recommend? Why?
  • Will I be okay if the cancer is just removed with no other treatment?
  • What will treatment be like? Where will it be done?
  • What are the risks or side effects from treatment?
  • Will I have a scar after treatment?
  • What are the chances of my cancer coming back with the treatment options we have discussed? What would we do if that happens?
  • How quickly do we need to decide on treatment?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • What are my chances of developing another skin cancer?
  • Should I take special precautions to avoid sun exposure? What are the most important steps I can take to protect myself from the sun?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
  • Are any of my family members at risk for skin cancer? What should I tell them to do?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down some of your own. For instance, you might want more information about recovery times so you can plan your work or activity schedule. Or you may want to ask about second opinions or about clinical trials for which you may qualify.

Keep in mind that doctors aren’t the only ones who can provide you with information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, may have the answers to some of your questions. You can find more information about speaking with your health care team in Talking With Your Doctor.


Last Medical Review: 04/02/2015
Last Revised: 04/03/2015