What To Ask a New Dermatologist About Skin Cancer
Last updated: February 2023
Sometimes it happens. You're seeing a doctor you love, one who knows all about your medical history, and you easily converse with them about your care. Then for whatever reason, you have to change doctors. Whether you've moved, the doctor retired, or any other reasons, it's important to know what to ask a new dermatologist when you're contending with skin cancer.
What to know when seeing a dermatologist for skin cancer
If you're lucky enough to find a dermatologist who spends time listening to you, then you've struck gold. If that doctor is new to you, you should ask them what they want to know about you. Just a simple question like, "are there any concerns or questions you want to ask me?" can open the door to a good medical conversation. Sure, this is what the doctor should be asking you, but starting dialogue is important and this is a good way to do it.
What sunscreens are best for me?
Anyone with a history of skin cancer knows how important sunscreen is. And who better to ask than the dermatologist you're seeing for skin cancer? While you can do your own research, often your doctor knows about a new formula or something that works better than the rest. They can also tell you what skincare products to use to help your skin if you have any concerns in that area.
How well is my skincare routine working?
And speaking of skincare, this is a good time to ask about your normal skincare routine. Your dermatologist can tell if you need to ramp up your skincare or if there is a better way of doing things. Your doctor may even suggest certain products that work better than others. And they may be able to let you know which ones to stay away from.
Are there any changes in my skin?
This is something your doctor should alert you to without asking, but asking allows you to have peace of mind. It also helps your dermatologist keep in mind your worries and experiences. It never hurts to prompt the conversation if you feel it is not addressed in a timely manner. Remember, you're the patient, and you're often your own best advocate, and your comfort is important.
You might want to ask questions like:
- How do you know if a spot looks concerning?
- Am I at high risk for skin cancer?
- How do moles and freckles differ?
- Do I have any growths that need special care? If so, what are they and are they dangerous?
- What is the best way to take care of my skin?
- Should I examine myself?
How often should I see you?
This question may seem ridiculous because you always get a specific time frame for another appointment. Yet, it's important to ask because the reception desk may make an appointment based on the usual time frame. Your dermatologist may choose to see you more often, especially if you're seeing that dermatologist for skin cancer. By bringing it up, they can ensure you get the right appointment date set up instead of any misconceptions later.
Your doctor, your care
Doctors are busy but know that your doctor is there for you. This means that you should feel comfortable with their answers, as well as the time they spend with you. Don't take up extra time unnecessarily, just make sure you feel good about your visit. And remember to make the most of your time when you're seeing your dermatologist for skin cancer.
What questions do you ask a new dermatologist?
Do you sunscreen in the fall?