Melanoma is a form of skin cancer with potentially serious consequences. Identifying melanoma at an early stage before it spreads to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body is important in improving the chances of successful treatment. Patients should consult a licensed phsyciain immediately if they notice changes in existing skin growths or moles, new skin growths of moles, abnormal moles or skin growths, sores that do not heal or other unusual symptoms.
Choosing a Doctor
Only a licensed physician should be consulted if melanoma or other forms of skin cancer are suspected. A dermatologist, family physician, internist or nurse practitioner may diagnose melanoma. If melanoma is suspected, the physician will take a biopsy of the skin growth for examination. If a diagnosis of melanoma is made, a dermatologist, surgeon, plastic surgeon or oncologist may provide treatment.
Make sure that you feel comfortable asking the physician questions. An open line of communication should be established between yourself and your physician throughout initial consultation, diagnosis and treatment.
The clinic at which you receive treatment should be conveniently located, as you may be required to come back for follow up consultations, treatments or appointments. It should also be hygienic and clean to avoid safety issues during your appointments or treatments.
It is important to ask questions during your appointment. Make sure that you are comfortable with the doctor and clinic, and that you practice open and effective communication with the physician.