Oncology social workers help you cope with the emotional and practical challenges of melanoma. Contact us at 800‑813‑HOPE (4673) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about counseling.
Learn more about how CancerCare Resource Navigation can help you address barriers to care.
Find resources and support to manage your financial concerns. Limited assistance from CancerCare® is available to eligible families for cancer-related costs.
Connect with others in our free support groups led by oncology social workers.
Learn about and view the full calendar of our free community programs.
CancerCare offers specialized programs to address specific populations and concerns.
Connect Education Workshops
Listen in by telephone or online as leading experts in oncology provide up-to-date information about cancer-related issues in one-hour workshops. Podcasts are also available.
- Clinical Trials: How They Transform the Treatment of Cancer, Jun 7, 2023
- Addressing the LGBTQI+ Health Disparities Gap, Jun 16, 2023
- Understanding Diagnostic Technologies and Biomarkers, Jun 26, 2023
- Diverse Populations Participating in Decisions About Your Care With Your Health Care Team, Jun 28, 2023
- Emerging Treatments for Metastatic Melanoma, May 5, 2023
- Understanding the Role of Immunotherapy in Treating Cancer, Mar 22, 2023
- Highlights from the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting - "Advancing Equitable Cancer Care Through Innovation", Aug 16, 2022
- People of Color Living with Skin Cancer, May 9, 2022
- Emerging Treatments for Metastatic Melanoma, Apr 22, 2022
- Highlights from the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, Aug 17, 2021
- Emerging Treatments for Metastatic Melanoma, Jun 25, 2021
- New Perspectives in the Treatment of Advanced Skin Cancer: Advanced Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Cancers, Jun 14, 2021
- Highlights from the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting: Unite and Conquer: Accelerating Progress Together, Aug 18, 2020
- Emerging Treatments for Metastatic Melanoma, May 8, 2020
- Taking Your Pills on Schedule: Its Importance in Managing Cancer, May 24, 2023
- Update on COVID for People Living with Cancer & Their Caregivers, May 22, 2023
- Understanding How Health Care Disparities May Influence Your Cancer Treatment and Care: With Tips and Strategies to Find the Best Cancer Treatment and Health Care Team for You, May 15, 2023
- Current Perspectives on Cancer Survivorship, May 2, 2023
- Caring for Your Loved One with Cancer, Apr 3, 2023
- Understanding Diagnostic Technologies and Biomarkers, Jan 23, 2023
- Taking Your Pills on Schedule: Its Importance in Managing Cancer, Nov 9, 2022
- Eye and Vision Changes Related to Cancer Treatments, Aug 22, 2022
- Chemotherapy Treatment Side Effects: Prevention & Management, Jun 10, 2022
- Diverse Populations Participating in Decisions about Your Care with Your Health Care Team, May 23, 2022
- Clinical Trials: How They Transform the Treatment of Cancer, May 18, 2022
- What’s New in Precision Medicine, May 11, 2022
- Taking Your Pills on Schedule: Why It Is So Important in Managing Cancer, May 4, 2022
- Current Perspectives on Cancer Survivorship, May 3, 2022
- Managing the Side Effects of Immunotherapy, Apr 27, 2022
- Caring for Your Loved One with Cancer, Apr 25, 2022
- Understanding the Role of Immunotherapy in Treating Cancer, Mar 23, 2022
- Understanding How Health Care Disparities May Influence Your Cancer Treatment and Care: With Tips & Strategies to Find the Best Cancer Treatment & Health Care Team for You, Mar 21, 2022
- Emerging Importance of Telemedicine/Telehealth Appointments in Communicating with Your Health Care Team, Mar 16, 2022
- CAR T-Cell Therapy: What's New, Mar 15, 2022
- COVID-19, Omicron & Delta Variants, COVID-19 Vaccines & Booster Vaccines: Revised Guidelines for People Living with Cancer and Their Loved Ones, Feb 7, 2022
- Managing Eye and Vision Changes Related to Cancer Treatments, Jan 24, 2022
- Preventing, Managing & Treating Infection in Adults Living with Cancer, Oct 25, 2021
- Clinical Trials: How They Transform the Treatment of Cancer, Aug 25, 2021
- What’s New in Precision Medicine, Jun 30, 2021
- How Health Care Disparities May Influence Your Cancer Treatment & Care, Jun 21, 2021
- Caring for Your Loved One with Cancer, Jun 8, 2021
- Managing the Side Effects of Immunotherapy, May 26, 2021
- Understanding the Role of Immunotherapy in Treating Cancer, May 19, 2021
- What’s New in Diagnostic Technologies for People Living with Solid Cancer Tumors, May 17, 2021
- Taking Your Pills on Schedule: Why It Is So Important in Managing Cancer, Apr 14, 2021
- Update on Clinical Trials: How They Work, Apr 7, 2021
- Emerging Importance of Telemedicine/Telehealth Appointments in Communicating with Your Health Care Team, Mar 31, 2021
- Managing Eye and Vision Changes Related to Cancer Treatments, Mar 15, 2021
- Current Perspectives on Cancer Survivorship, Feb 9, 2021
- The 9/11 Community, Cancer & COVID-19, Jan 25, 2021
- How Diagnostic Technologies and Biomarkers Improve Treatment Decisions for People Living with Cancer, Dec 7, 2020
- What We Now Know about COVID-19: Revised Guidelines for People Living with Cancer, Nov 16, 2020
- Cancer and Flu Shots, Nov 9, 2020
- Caregiving for Your Loved One Living with Cancer, Nov 3, 2020
- Preventing and Managing Infections in Adults Living with Cancer, Oct 26, 2020
- Managing the Cost of Living with Cancer, Sep 23, 2020
- Veterans Living with Cancer, Jun 26, 2020
- Treatment Adherence: Taking Your Pills on Schedule – Why It Is So Important, Jun 24, 2020
- Understanding Diagnostic Technologies and Biomarkers, Jun 22, 2020
- What are Biosimilars? Understanding Their Role in Cancer Treatment: Current and Future Perspectives, Jun 18, 2020
- Current Perspectives in Cancer Survivorship, Jun 16, 2020
- The New Coronavirus (COVID-19): Emerging Guidelines for People Living & Coping with Cancer, Jun 15, 2020
- Managing the Side Effects of Immunotherapy, May 6, 2020
- Understanding the Role of Immunotherapy in Treating Cancer, Apr 29, 2020
- For Caregivers: Care Coordination for Your Loved One Living with Cancer and Other Health Problems, Apr 22, 2020
- The New Coronavirus (COVID-19): Updated Guidelines for People Coping with Cancer, Apr 20, 2020
- Caregiving for Your Loved One with Cancer, Apr 14, 2020
- Participating in Decisions about Your Care, Apr 8, 2020
- The New Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidelines for People Coping with Cancer, Mar 30, 2020
- Cancer and The Workplace: Understanding Your Legal Protections, Mar 25, 2020
- New Perspectives in Clinical Trial Research, Mar 20, 2020
- Understanding the Costs of Care and Your Health Care Coverage, Mar 18, 2020
- Trends in Oncology and Treatment Planning: What You Need to Know, Mar 4, 2020
- Managing Eye and Vision Changes Related to Cancer Treatments, Mar 2, 2020
- Taking Your Treatment on Schedule: Its Importance in Managing Cancer, Feb 26, 2020
- Care for Your Bones During & After Cancer Treatment: Tips to Improve Bone Health, Nov 18, 2019
- Preventing Chemotherapy Induced Nausea and Vomiting, Oct 28, 2019
- Participating in Decisions about Your Care, Jun 19, 2019
- New Trends in Cancer Survivorship, Jun 18, 2019
- For Caregivers: Care Coordination for Your Loved One Living with Cancer and Other Health Problems, Jun 17, 2019
- Understanding the Costs of Care and Your Health Care Coverage, Jun 12, 2019
- Cancer and the Workplace: Understanding Your Legal Protections, May 29, 2019
- Managing Eye and Vision Changes Related to Cancer Treatments, Apr 15, 2019
- Joys and Challenges of Pets in Your Home When You Have Cancer, Apr 8, 2019
- Caregiving for Your Loved One with Cancer, Mar 19, 2019
- Current Perspectives on Cancer Survivorship, Dec 11, 2018
- Treatment-Related Rash and Dry Skin, Jun 20, 2018
- Mind Body Techniques to Cope with the Stresses of Cancer, Nov 15, 2017
- For Caregivers: Care Coordination for Your Loved One Living with Cancer and Other Health Problems, Jun 14, 2017
- Living with Cancer Throughout The Cancer Journey, Mar 10, 2017
- Managing Sensory Disruptions During Cancer Treatments, Dec 5, 2016
- For Health Care Professionals: Care Coordination for Older Men Living with Cancer, Aug 23, 2016
- Managing the Costs of Living with Cancer, Jun 8, 2016
- Nutrition and Healthy Eating Tips During and After Cancer Treatments, Feb 1, 2016
- What’s New in Managing Blood Clots During Cancer Treatments, Oct 30, 2015
- For Health Care Professionals: Care Coordination for Older Men Living with Cancer, Jul 14, 2015
- Healthy Eating and Managing Weight Changes During Cancer Treatment, Apr 13, 2015
- Highlights of the Affordable Care Act, Nov 11, 2014
- Managing Cancer Pain: What You Need to Know, Mar 21, 2014
- Young Adult Survivorship: Fertility, Sexuality and Intimacy, Jun 28, 2013
- Understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for People Living with Cancer, Dec 12, 2012
- Managing Post-Treatment Neuropathy, Jul 17, 2012
- Recapturing Joy and Finding Meaning, May 15, 2012
- Planning Your Comfort and Care at End of Life, May 10, 2012
- Using Mind/Body Techniques to Cope with the Stress of Survivorship, Apr 24, 2012
- Nutrition, Physical Activity and You: A Guide for People Living With Cancer, Nov 15, 2011
- Fear of Recurrence and Late Effects: Living with Uncertainty, Jul 12, 2011
- Stress Management for Caregivers: Taking Care of Yourself Physically and Emotionally, Jun 14, 2011
- The Challenges of Coping with Cancer and Other Health Problems, Jun 1, 2011
- Weight Changes After Cancer Treatment: Why is it Happening and What Can I Do About It, May 10, 2011
- Mouth Pain and Discomfort: All You Need to Know About Mouth Sores and Oral Mucositis, Apr 27, 2011
- Helping Children and Teens Understand When a Parent or Loved One Has Cancer, Apr 20, 2011
- Chemobrain: The Impact of Cancer Treatments on Memory, Thinking and Attention, Apr 12, 2011
- Survivors Too: Communicating With and Among Family, Friends and Loved Ones, Jul 13, 2010
- Communicating with Your Health Care Team After Treatment: Making the Most of Your Visit, May 18, 2010
- Trouble Sleeping? Sleep Better to Feel Better: Tips You Can Use, Apr 13, 2010
- Helping Teachers and Educators Support Siblings of Children with Cancer, Oct 8, 2009
- Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy, Jul 16, 2009
- Survivors Too: Family, Friends and Loved Ones - Managing the Fatigue of Caregiving, Jun 23, 2009
- The Importance of Nutrition and Physical Activity, May 19, 2009
- For Parents, Caregivers and Professionals: Helping Brothers and Sisters of Children Living with Cancer, May 14, 2009
- Dental Health During Cancer Treatments, Apr 24, 2009
- Managing the Stress of Survivorship, Apr 14, 2009
- Medical Emergencies in Cancer Treatment, Apr 1, 2009
- Balancing Cancer and Careers: Living and Working with Cancer, Mar 12, 2009
- For Caregivers: Coping with Holidays, Special Occasions and Birthdays, Throughout the Year, Dec 12, 2008
- Survivors Too: Family, Friends and Loved Ones, Jun 24, 2008
- Rediscovering Intimacy in Your Relationships Following Treatment, May 13, 2008
- The Importance of Communicating with Your Doctor About Follow-Up Care, Apr 22, 2008
- Finding Hope and Meaning After Treatment, Jun 19, 2007
- My Treatment is Over: Why Do I Feel So Alone and Sad?, May 15, 2007
- Neuropathy and Joint Aches: New Post Treatment Challenges, Apr 17, 2007
- Managing Your Costs of Recovery, Jun 20, 2006
- Balancing Your Needs and Your Role as a Caregiver, Jun 13, 2006
- Is It My Cancer or Am I Getting Older?, May 23, 2006
- The Bereaved Caregiver in the Workplace, May 10, 2006
- Stress Management Tips for Survivors, Apr 25, 2006
- The Challenge of Creating Supportive Work Environments for Employees with Cancer and Their Caregivers, Apr 5, 2006
Read or order our free Connect booklets and fact sheets offering easy-to-read information about the latest cancer treatments, managing side effects and coping with cancer.
- Melanoma: Early Detection, Risk Factors and ScreeningNew
- Your Guide to the Latest Cancer Research and Treatments: Highlights From the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical OncologyNew
- After a Skin Cancer Diagnosis: Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Treatment Update: Advanced Skin Cancer
- Your Guide to the Latest Cancer Research and Treatments: Highlights From the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology
- Coping With Cancer: Tools to Help You Live
- Caregiving for Your Loved One With Cancer
- Talking to Children When a Loved One Has Cancer
- Communicating With Your Health Care Team
- Understanding and Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects
- Sources of Financial Assistance
- Finding Resources in Your Community
- If You've Just Been Diagnosed
- What Can I Say to a Newly Diagnosed Loved One?
- Advice for Caregivers: How Can You Help Yourself?
Every month, featured experts answer your questions about coping with cancer. View all questions and answers.
I have ocular melanoma and there is very little written about it. Do you have any websites or places you would recommend for more information?A.
Melanomas begin in cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes produce the skin pigment called melanin which gives skin its color. While the majority of melanomas form on the skin, melanocytes are also present in other tissues of the body. When melanoma forms in the eye, it is know as ocular melanoma. Ocular melanoma is the most common form of eye cancer in adults, and accounts for five percent of all melanomas. It is estimated that every year 2,500 adults living in the United States will be diagnosed with ocular melanoma.
The Ocular Melanoma Foundation provides information and support resources.
Other organizations that might also be helpful to you include:
Finally, the National Cancer Institute offers up-to-date treatment information: Intraocular (Eye) Melanoma Treatment.
My husband has black moles on his face - could this be melanoma? How serious are they if they change?A.
Moles are pigmented colored cells that can appear anywhere on our bodies. Having moles on our bodies does not necessarily mean they are cancer or will become cancerous. Simultaneously however, it is important to note that any change in a mole in size, color, and texture should be examined by a medical dermatologist. To help recognize the signs of melanoma, the American Academy of Dermatology created the ABCDEs of melanoma detection:
- Asymmetry: One half of the mole or pigmented spot is different than the other half
- Borders: The mole or spot has irregular or poorly defined borders
- Colors: Color is varied from one area to another. Includes shades of tan, brown, black (also can include white, red or blue)
- Diameter: Spot is usually greater than 6mm (size of pencil eraser)
- Evolving: A mole or spot that looks different from others or changes in size, shape, or color.
Your husband should have the moles on his face (and any others) checked out by a doctor. You can search for a dermatologist through the American Academy of Dermatology’s Find a Dermatologist database. The National Cancer Institute offers information about preventing skin cancer and melanoma. Additionally, the Melanoma Research Foundation provides a wealth of information about the prevention and treatment of melanoma.
How do I find doctors who specialize in treating melanoma?A.
Finding a doctor who specializes in melanoma and skin cancers can significantly improve the recovery process and cancer survivorship. It’s important to find a doctor who understands the intricacies and dynamics of living with a melanoma diagnosis. You want to find a doctor who regularly treats melanoma and can address the needs of people living with this type of cancer. A dermatologist, for instance, would be more informed about melanoma. Although a doctor’s personality should not impact treatment, it can be extremely helpful if we feel comfortable speaking with our doctor.
To find a doctor who specializes in treating melanoma you may first want to consult with your primary care physician and request a referral. Your family members, friends or colleagues may know of a doctor who specializes in this type of cancer. A representative from your health insurance company may also assist you in seeking a doctor whose specialty is melanoma. Speaking with your insurance representative would also help you understand your coverage and learn whether or not you would be allowed to go out of network to see a specialist.
Understanding your doctor’s credentials and training can be helpful in making educated decisions regarding your diagnosis and treatment. Pay attention to a doctor’s credentials and don’t be afraid to ask about his/her education and training. Some doctors including dermatologists may choose additional training in their specialty.
When searching for a doctor, some questions to ask yourself include:
- Does this doctor have the appropriate education and training to address my type of cancer?
- Will this doctor listen to my needs and treat me with respect?
- Does this doctor clearly explain treatment options to me that I understand and encourage me to ask questions about my diagnosis and treatment?
- Do I feel as if I am an important part of the medical team?
Finding the right treatment facility for you is equally as important to finding the right doctor. Locating a comprehensive cancer center, for instance, may provide access to a number of doctors to whom you could reach out and learn about treatment options and alternatives for you to consider.
In discussing your melanoma diagnosis, questions to ask include:
- How large is the tumor and has it metastasized?
- Will surgery alone be able to remove the cancer or will I need additional treatment?
- What are the treatments available for my type of cancer?
- Are there any potential side effects related to my treatment?
- Am I at risk for a recurrence of melanoma or other type of cancer?
- How frequently will I have to follow up with you?
And finally, the American Academy of Dermatology provides a Find a Dermatologist database through their website.
What support groups are there for people with skin cancer? My brother was diagnosed two months ago and I think he could benefit from one.A.
It’s never easy to adjust to a cancer diagnosis. Everything changes when you hear the words “you have cancer.” It is a time when many people need extra support. Speaking to an oncology social worker can help reduce the stress of adjusting to a diagnosis and assist with understanding treatment options, side effects, disclosure and finances/insurance issues. I always emphasize that reaching out for help is a sign of strength. Oncology social workers are trained in how a diagnosis of cancer affects a person and his or her family and friends. They are also trained to help cancer patients and their families tackle the problems that accompany the disease, such as the financial demands, the physical changes, social adjustment and psychological impact, and care. Adjusting to and dealing with the diagnosis is an important part of the healing process.
Cancer often makes people feel isolated. Joining a support group allows people with cancer to feel less alone because they are talking with others who are experiencing similar fears and concerns. They can speak openly and freely without feeling that they are being a burden to friends and loved ones. Please know, your brother would have to call himself for these services.
CancerCare can provide that help in many ways. Currently, we have an online group for people with melanoma. Our registration process is streamlined so it is very user friendly. We can also provide individual telephone counseling. All of our services are free of charge, and our services are for both the people with cancer and their loved ones.
The Cancer Hope Network is a way to connect, by telephone, with an individual with a similar diagnosis. Their volunteer survivors are trained to talk you through some of the common difficulties that come along with any diagnoses.
Please remember that you and your brother are not alone. CancerCare’s services are here to help you.
My husband was recently diagnosed with skin cancer. While we have insurance to cover many of the related costs, this will certainly deplete our finances further. What assistance is there for our situation?A.
While you have many advantages being insured, there may be additional unforeseen problems associated with being underinsured. There may be some ways of getting around this. Some of the drug companies have prescription assistance funds. I would encourage you to look into these by simply putting the name of the drug into an internet search engine.
Although there are many organizations that highlight prevention and awareness for melanoma, there are very few that offer financial assistance. Please call our HopeLine at 800-813-4673 for more information.
There may be local resources as well. The American Cancer Society has resource listings by zip codes. You can access these by calling 800-227-2345 or by visiting their website.
My 28-year-old daughter has melanoma and recently quit her job due to emotional stress associated with it and is living with us now. She is still in active treatment and has prescriptions and doctor bills, but has lost her insurance. Could you tell me what would be the best option for her?A.
I can see that there has been a tremendous ripple effect with your daughter’s diagnosis, both for her, of course, but really for everyone involved. Dealing with cancer is always difficult but can be especially sensitive when one is a young adult.
CancerCare provides telephone counseling for anyone affected by cancer, and we also a specific online melanoma patient support group. Either of these modalities would allow her to express some of her fears and concerns in a safe and caring place. Please remember that caregiving brings its own unique challenges. Our services also include counseling for you as well. When someone in the family is diagnosed with cancer, the whole family is affected. Please call our HopeLine (800-813-4673) or view our caregiving resources.
As far as the financial stressors, I suggest investigating www.healthcare.gov. They can explain whether she can apply for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. You can also explore possible assistance with medications through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance.
Magnolia Meals at Home
A meal delivery program that helps patients by providing nourishing meals to households affected by cancer. Is currently available in and around Woodcliff Lake, NJ and Andover, MA, Raleigh-Durham, NC and New Haven, CT (as well areas in New York, New Hampshire and Boston, MA). For more information please visit magnoliamealsathome.com or contact Kathy Nugent, LCSW at 800-813-4673, ext. 6809.
Stories of Help and Hope
Read inspiring personal accounts from people affected by cancer and the ways they've found to cope.
- Jonah E., Diagnosed with melanoma
Browse all CancerCare services
AIM at Melanoma
American Academy of Dermatology
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery
CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation
Melanoma Research Alliance
Melanoma Research Foundation
Ocular Melanoma Foundation
Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation
Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program (PAF CPR)
Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation
The Assistance Fund
The Skin Cancer Foundation
Time to Screen
General Cancer Resources
American Cancer Society
Cancer Support Community
National Cancer Institute