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People with melanoma often want to take an active part in making decisions about their medical care and want to learn all they can about their disease and the treatment choices for their melanoma. However, shock and stress after the diagnosis can make it hard to think of everything to ask the doctor. Some people find that it is helpful to make a list of questions before an appointment.
To help remember what the doctor says, patients may take notes or ask whether they may use a tape recorder. Some people may also want to have a family member or friend with them when they talk to the doctor -- to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen.
Treatment options for melanoma include:
At any stage of melanoma, people may have treatment to:
- Control symptoms related to the cancer
- Relieve the side effects of therapy
- Ease emotional and practical problems.
This kind of treatment is called symptom management, supportive care, or palliative care.
Before starting treatment for melanoma, patients may want to consider taking part in a clinical trial. This is a type of research study that is meant to help improve current melanoma treatments or obtain information on new treatments. When clinical trials show that a new treatment for melanoma is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard.