Advocate for Yourself
Although you should be your own advocate when it comes to your skin, you should not feel like it is all on you. Your health care provider can help guide you in this process. For some patients at increased risk of skin cancer, regular examinations with a dermatologist can be an important part of the plan. If you are seeing a new dermatologist, find out what tools they have for evaluating your spots. If you have an established dermatologist, be sure to ask about non-invasive options as well. Make sure to discuss any worries you have about your skin. You have a right to know all of the options available to assess your spots and determine if they are high risk for a melanoma. You are a partner in your care.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Moles or Spots That Are Concerning
Your health care provider says you have a spot that is concerning:
- Why are you concerned about this particular mole or spot?
- Do you have any tools to evaluate this spot without cutting me? If so, which ones?
- Am I a candidate for the non-invasive genetic sticker? Why or why not?
If the non-invasive genetic sticker is an available option:
- Is it possible that the sticker will not sample enough material to do the test? What happens then?
- How soon will your office get the results?
- How do you communicate the results to me?
- What can I expect next if the results are negative? If they are positive?
- AIM at Melanoma. Melanoma Risk Factors. Accessed November 3, 2022.
- American Academy of Dermatology. Skin cancer: everyone’s at risk. Accessed November 3, 2022.
- Bauman CA, Emary P, Damen T, Dixon H. Melanoma in situ: a case report from the patient’s perspective. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2018;62(1):56-61.
- Ferris LK, Gerami P, Skelsey MK, et al. Real-world performance and utility of a noninvasive gene expression assay to evaluate melanoma risk in pigmented lesions. Melanoma Res. 2018;28(5):478-482. doi:10.1097/CMR.0000000000000478
- Gerami P, Alsobrook JP II, Palmer TJ, Robin HS. Development of a novel noninvasive adhesive patch test for the evaluation of pigmented lesions of the skin. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;71(2):P237-244. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2014.04.042
- National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. Cancer Stat Facts: Melanoma of the Skin.
- Shah A, Hyngstrom J, Florell SR, Grossman D. Use of the pigmented lesion assay to rapidly screen a patient with numerous clinically atypical pigmented lesions. JAAD Case Rep. 2019;5(12):1048-1050. doi:10.1016/j.jdcr.2019.10.004