Melanoma Skin Cancer

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What should you ask your doctor about melanoma skin cancer?

It is important to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. You should feel free to ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Nurses, social workers, and other members of the treatment team may also be able to answer many of your questions. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • What type of skin cancer do I have?
  • How far has my melanoma spread within or beneath the skin? How thick is my melanoma?
  • Are there other tests that need to be done before we can decide on treatment?
  • Are there other doctors I need to see?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • What are my treatment options? What are the possible risks and benefits of each?
  • Which treatment do you recommend? Why?
  • What is the goal of the treatment?
  • How quickly do we need to decide on treatment?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
  • How will treatment affect my daily activities?
  • Will I have a scar after treatment?
  • What are the chances of my cancer growing or recurring (coming back) with the treatment options we have discussed? What would we do if this happens?
  • Should I take special precautions to avoid sun exposure?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
  • Are my family members at risk for skin cancer? Should I arrange to have my family members screened?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down your own questions. For instance, you might want more information about recovery times so you can plan your work or activity schedule. Or you might want to ask about getting a second opinion or about clinical trials for which you may qualify. You can find more information about communicating with your health care team in our document Talking With Your Doctor.

Last Medical Review: 10/29/2013
Last Revised: 09/05/2014