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Information and support

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  • Melanoma treatment decisions

    Health professionals

    Health professionals who care for people with melanoma include:
     

    Health Professional Role
    general practitioner (GP) performs skin examinations and sometimes does an initial excision biopsy, and monitors you on an ongoing basis
    dermatologist specialises in the skin and diseases affecting the skin
    surgeon surgeon performs operations to remove the melanoma
    reconstructive (plastic) surgeon specialises in surgery that restores the appearance and function of the body
    specialist nurses assist you through all stages of your diagnosis and treatment


    People with metastatic melanoma (i.e. when it has spread to lymph nodes or internal organs) may also see:
     

    Health professional Role
    medical oncologist prescribes and coordinates treatment with chemotherapy
    radiation oncologist prescribes and coordinates treatment with radiotherapy
    clinical research staff coordinate participation in clinical trials
    palliative care specialists link you to palliative care services
    social workers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists link you to support services and help you with any emotional, physical or practical problems


    Most people with melanoma will only need to have the melanoma removed surgically. They will not need to see a medical oncologist or a radiation oncologist, unless the melanoma has metastasised.

    For more information on treatment for metastasised melanoma, visit our article on Surgery for melanoma.

    Melanoma units

    Some people are able to visit specialist melanoma units that are based in some public and private hospitals.

    Melanoma SA, based at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, is a statewide organisation supporting clinicians treating melanoma and is a hub for clinical trials of new melanoma treatments.

    If you are referred to a melanoma unit an expert pathologist will review the biopsy of your melanoma to ensure that no error has been made and that there is no difference of opinion about your diagnosis. You will be given the opportunity to talk to a medical specialist who will answer your questions. The specialist will advise you and your doctor about your treatment.

    As well as providing treatment advice, melanoma units are involved in research studies and may invite you to participate. They may also seek your permission to collect information about you for use in melanoma research. People who are at high risk of melanoma are often asked to take part in research studies, as well, even if they have not been diagnosed with melanoma.

    To visit a melanoma unit ask your doctor for a referral.

    Want to know where this information comes from? Click here.

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