WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
You could get an infection or bleed more than expected during surgery. Treatment may not be able to kill all the melanoma. Even with treatment, the melanoma may come back. If not treated, the melanoma will spread to other parts of your body. Once cancer spreads, it is more difficult to treat, and may become life-threatening.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
- Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription pain medicine. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more pain medicine.
- Biopsy: This is a procedure to remove all or part of the tumor. You will be given medicine to numb the skin. After the biopsy, you may need stitches and a bandage to close the wound. The tissue sample is sent to a lab for tests.
- Chest x-ray: These may be done to see if the melanoma has spread to your lungs.
- CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures. The pictures may show if the melanoma has spread. You may be given contrast dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
- Sentinel node biopsy: This procedure is done to see if the melanoma has spread to lymph nodes close to the mole.
- Biological therapy: These are used to help your immune system fight the cancer.
- Chemotherapy: This is used to kill cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy: This uses x-rays to kill cancer cells.
- Skin grafting: This procedure is done to remove a thin piece of healthy skin from one part of the body. The healthy piece of skin is then put onto the injured part of the body. When a large or deep tumor is removed from the skin, a large wound and scar may occur. A skin graft can help close the wound or decrease the amount of scarring.
- Surgery: You may need surgery to remove melanoma from a larger area of skin. Surgery may also be done if the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes or other parts of your body.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.