Cancer and its treatment can cause a variety of side effects. However, doctors have made major strides in recent years in reducing pain, nausea and vomiting, and other physical side effects of cancer treatments. Many treatments used today are less intensive but as effective as treatments used in the past. Doctors also have many ways to provide relief to patients when such side effects do occur.
Fear of treatment side effects  is common after a diagnosis of cancer, but it may be helpful to know that preventing and controlling side effects is a major focus of your health care team. Before treatment begins, talk with your doctor about possible side effects of the specific treatment you will be receiving. The specific side effects that can occur depend on a variety of factors, including the type of melanoma, its location and stage, the individual treatment plan (including the length and dosage of treatment), and your overall health. Common side effects for each treatment option are described in detail within the Treatment  section.
If the person's treatment included lymph node dissection and/or radiation therapy under the arm or in the groin, fluid build-up in the affected limb, called lymphedema , is possible. Graduated support garments and other therapies may help manage the condition.
If you have pain from surgery, he or she should speak with the surgeon or another health care team member. Although rare, some individuals have post-surgical long-term pain, called chronic pain. If needed, a pain management specialist can also help find ways to manage pain.
Ask your doctor which side effects are most likely to happen (and which are not), when side effects are likely to occur, and how they will be addressed by the health care team. Also, be sure to communicate with the doctor about side effects you experience during and after treatment. Care of a patient's symptoms and side effects is an important part of a person's overall treatment plan; this is called palliative or supportive care . It helps people with cancer at any stage of illness be as comfortable as possible. Learn more about the most common side effects of cancer and different treatments, along with ways to prevent or control them .
Be sure to talk with your doctor about the level of caregiving you may need during treatment and recovery, as family members and friends often play an important role in the care of a person with melanoma. Learn more about caregiving .
In addition to physical side effects, there may be psychosocial (emotional and social) effects are well. For many patients, a diagnosis of melanoma is stressful and can bring difficult emotions. Patients and their families are encouraged to share their feelings with a member of their health care team who can help with coping strategies . Learn more about the importance of addressing such needs , including concerns about managing the cost of your cancer care .
A side effect that occurs more than five years after treatment is called a late effect . Treatment of late effects is an important part of survivorship care. Learn more about late effects or long-term effects by reading the After Treatment  section or talking with your doctor.