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

  • Would you please write down the exact type of skin cancer I have?
  • How far has my melanoma spread within or beneath my skin?
  • How thick is the melanoma?
  • Do I need 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 treatment choices do I have? What do you recommend and 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?
  • What are the risks and benefits of treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
  • How will treatment affect my daily activities?
  • What type of side effects might I expect?
  • Will I have a scar after my treatment?
  • What are the chances of my cancer coming back with the treatment you suggest? What would we do if this happens?
  • Should I take special care to avoid sun exposure?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
  • Are my family members at risk for skin cancer? Should my family members be screened?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down some of your own. For instance, you might want to know more 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.

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

Last Medical Review: 05/01/2015
Last Revised: 02/01/2016