As metastatic melanoma is diagnosed, treated and managed, you may encounter the following team of doctors and specialists. Having providers with varied expertise will help you to treat the condition more effectively.
Members of the team include:
- General Practitioner: A Physician who focuses on prevention, discovery and treatment of illnesses in all age categories. This will be the doctor who oversees and coordinates care between the patient and other specialists on the team.
- Dermatologist: Focuses on health of the skin and diseases involved with the skin.
- Dermatological surgeon: A physician who performs biopsies of the skin and surgical removal of abnormal skin and tumor areas. Most dermatological surgeons also perform Mohs surgery where abnormal skin is removed a layer at a time to determine its depth.
- Surgeon: A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and care of illness through incising (cutting the body) or repairing incisions. This physician will be the one who biopsies abnormal masses and skin.
- Medical Oncologist: A doctor who specializes in the medical treatment of cancers. This physician can offer chemotherapy and immunotherapy as options.
- Radiation Oncologist: A physician who specializes in the treatment of cancers using radiation therapy as the main modality.
- Radiologist: A physician who specializes in the use of body imaging to diagnose and treat illness to detect spread to other organs.
- Pathologist: A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and management of illness by laboratory methods. This doctor examines and diagnoses body tissues and oversees laboratory tests with interpretation of these tests to help coordinate patient care. The pathologist examines biopsies to give a detailed diagnosis.
- Psychologists: Professional trained in the health and well-being of both individuals and families. They assess and treat emotional and psychological disorders like depression and mood conditions (prevalent in those with cancers).
- Psychiatrist: A physician who specializes in the health, diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional and addictive disorders. Medication is used as well as psychotherapy for treatment.
- Nurses and nurse practitioners: Focus on prevention, wellness and education of patients about health and healthcare choices. The nurse practitioner will discuss various therapy options with the patient and help make the choice most appropriate for that individual.
- Hospice staff: Members of an end-stage facility that offers emotional support and pain relief when it is expected that the patient will have only six months to live.