Eye Melanoma: Questions to Ask the Health Care Team

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some questions to ask your doctor or other members of the health care team, to help you better understand your diagnosis, treatment plan, and overall care. Use the menu to see other pages.

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Talking often with the health care team 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. You may want to print this list and bring it to your next appointment. Or, download Cancer.Net’s free mobile app for a digital list and other interactive tools to manage your care. It may also be helpful to ask a family member or friend to come with you to appointments to help take notes.

Questions to ask after getting a diagnosis

  • What type of eye melanoma do I have?

  • Do I need a biopsy? Why or why not?

  • If I had a biopsy, can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?

  • What stage is the eye melanoma? If there’s a grade, what grade is it? What does this mean?

  • Do you recommend any additional diagnostic tests, such as cytogenetics or gene expression profiling?

  • Who can help me interpret the results of these tests?

  • What is the likelihood that the cancer will spread outside of the eye? How do you know?

  • Do I need treatment right away?

Questions to ask about choosing a treatment and managing side effects

  • What experience do you have in treating eye melanoma?

  • What are my treatment options?

  • What clinical trials are available for me? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?

  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?

  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the cancer, help me feel better, or both?

  • What are the possible side effects of each treatment, both in the short term and the long term?

  • Is loss of vision a possible side effect? If so, when could vision changes occur?

  • Who will be part of my health care team, and what does each member do?

  • Who will be leading my overall treatment?

  • How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?

  • Could this treatment affect my sex life? If so, how and for how long?

  • Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have children? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins?

  • If I’m worried about managing the costs of cancer care, who can help me?

  • What support services are available to me? To my family?

  • If I have questions or problems, who should I call?

Questions to ask about having radiation therapy

  • What kind of radiation therapy is recommended?

  • What is the goal of this treatment?

  • How long will it take to give this treatment?

  • What is the likelihood of having radiation damage to my eye?

  • What is the risk of vision loss?

  • What other side effects can I expect from this treatment?

  • Who should I contact about any side effects I experience? And how soon?

  • What are the possible long-term or late effects of having this treatment?

  • What can be done to prevent or relieve the side effects?

Questions to ask about having surgery

  • What type of surgery is recommended? Will lymph nodes be removed?

  • How long will the operation take?

  • How long will I be in the hospital?

  • Can you describe what my recovery from surgery will be like?

  • Will I have problems with my vision after the surgery, either immediately or in the long term?

  • What are the possible long-term or late side effects of having this surgery?

  • Who should I contact about any side effects I experience? And how soon?

Questions to ask about loss of an eye

  • How do I adjust to only having 1 eye?

  • How long will it take me to recover physically?

  • What rehabilitation services are available to help me cope with this?

  • How soon can I get an artificial eye?

  • When do I get an artificial eye?

  • How do I care for my artificial eye?

Questions to ask about planning follow-up care

  • What is the chance that the cancer will come back? Should I watch for specific signs or symptoms?

  • What long-term side effects or late effects are possible based on the cancer treatment I received?

  • What follow-up tests will I need, and how often will those tests be needed?

  • How do I get a treatment summary and survivorship care plan to keep in my personal records?

  • Who will be leading my follow-up care?

  • What survivorship support services are available to me? To my family?

The next section in this guide is Additional Resources. It offers more resources on this website that may be helpful to you. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.