Being Diagnosed with Melanoma
First things first – Talk to your doctor…again!
Your doctor is your first point of contact for your news. Some doctors are very good at explaining your diagnosis and treatment options, and some keep it very brief. It can be a little overwhelming to take in all this new information, and it’s easy to forget some of the things that have been said.
Don’t be afraid to make another appointment with your doctor so you can learn more about your journey ahead.
We suggest you:
- Take a trusted friend or a family member who can be with you at your appointment, and ask them to jot down notes about what the doctor is telling you.
- Ahead of the appointment, think about your questions and write them down so that you don’t get distracted away from the information you need.
We have prepared a comprehensive list of questions so you can get all the information you need to learn about melanoma and what your options are.
To learn more about melanoma, visit our “Understanding Melanoma” page.
Remember – The prognosis for most people with melanoma is good…
In recent years, there have been a lot of new and exciting developments for medications and treatments for melanoma, which are providing some very good and positive results for many people.
The landscape for these developments is changing rapidly. We recommend that to keep up to date with information about the very latest treatments, you can:
- Speak to your doctor;
- Call the WA Melanoma Advisory Service (WAMAS) on (08) 9382 9445; or
- Come to one of our support groups.
Alternatively, you can call melanomaWA so we can put you on the right path to learn more.
What your family needs to know
There are a few factors that increase your risk of developing melanoma. People in a higher risk group may have one, or more, of the following factors:
- Fair skin that burns easily and does not tan
- Lots of moles
- A history of sunburn, especially in childhood or adolescence
- High exposure to UV including working outdoors, seeking a tan, arc welding and tanning beds
- Family history of melanoma or skin cancers
- Previous melanoma or skin cancer
If you have been diagnosed with melanoma, it is a good idea to have a conversation with your family members about getting screened regularly for melanoma, because they will automatically be in a higher risk category. This is important for them to know. Even if you don’t want to talk about your own diagnosis, it is still a very worthwhile conversation to initiate with other family members.
Getting screened for melanoma involves a thorough and comprehensive skin screen from a doctor or dermatologist. Detecting and removing melanoma early is key to stopping it from developing and reduces the chances of it spreading to other parts of the body. See Early Detection