Talking often with the doctor is important to make informed decisions about your health care. These suggested questions are a starting point to help you learn more about your cancer care and treatment. You are also encouraged to ask additional questions that are important to you.
Before a diagnosis of skin cancer
- Can you explain what I can expect with a skin biopsy?
- Will the biopsy remove all of the lesion?
- Will there be a scar?
- Are there other lesions that should be biopsied?
- To which laboratory is the biopsy being sent? Is there a pathologist who specializes in skin cancer there?
After a diagnosis of non-melanoma skin cancer
- What type of skin cancer do I have?
- Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
- Are more tests needed to find out if the cancer has spread?
- What are my treatment options?
- What clinical trials are open to me?
- What treatment do you recommend? Why?
- What are the possible side effects of this treatment, both in the short term and the long term?
- Is there going to be ongoing pain after the removal of the cancer? If so, what types of pain management programs (such as medications or relaxation techniques) are available?
- What will the scar look like following surgery? How long will it take to heal?
- How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?
- Who will be part of my health care team, and what does each member do?
- Who will be coordinating my overall treatment and follow-up care?
- If I'm worried about managing the costs related to my cancer care, who can help me with these concerns?
- What is the likelihood that the cancer will come back?
- After this treatment, how often should I have check-ups to watch for other skin cancers?
- What other follow-up tests will I need, and how often will I need them?
- What steps should I take to prevent future skin cancers?
- What support services are available to me and my family?