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I’ve Just Been Told I Have Melanoma

Feb 5, 2009

Melanoma is a type of cancer. There are few things scarier than being told you have cancer. You may feel like you’re in shock. You may not even believe what the doctor has told you. And you probably have so many questions, you don't know where to begin.

First of all, it’s okay to be overwhelmed. And it’s okay to feel afraid. But you shouldn’t let those feelings stop you from finding out as much as you can about your cancer and about the options you have. The more you know, the less helpless and afraid you may feel. Plus, knowledge helps you work better with your health care team to make the best choices for your treatment.

To decide the best course of treatment for you, your health care team needs to know as much as they can about your cancer. This may involve getting some tests and working with more than one doctor or other type of health care professional. You may decide that you want to get a second opinion to help you choose a treatment.

Your health care team will likely include a surgeon, a skin specialist called a dermatologist, a medical or radiation oncologist, and an oncology nurse. They will answer any questions you may have and help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests you need and the results of those tests. They’ll guide you in making treatment decisions and help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.

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