How to ask the doctor about more aggressive treatment?

Hello All – I recently wrote in regards to my mother who has invasive squamous cell carcinoma. We went to a visit recently with the dermatologist who has been treating her for over 6 yrs. My mother had multiple places of growths all over her body that had to be burned – probably around 14 or so – with 5 on her face. One spot on her cheek was really large and pointy, and the doctor burned it. Three days later it is back and still growing. Of course something has to be done – maybe a Mohs.

I’m going to call the doctor, but not sure what to talk to her about. Should my mother see an oncologist? I feel this is getting out of control. I see a number of growths already on her legs – her legs are swollen due to heart failure, but I know something should be done with the growths soon before they get too large. I can’t keep up with it all. We have a scheduled appointment in 3 months, but I know we will be back before that.


Community Answers
  • hawkfan01 author
    2 weeks ago

    I feel that much of the non-reaction has to do with the fact that she is in the “very elderly” stage of her life and that sometimes doctors just manage the conditions, as opposed to aggressive treatment for her.

    But I wish they would tell me this, because I am one to find a solution. Has anyone had this experience with an elderly love one? What is the general consensus from a doctor’s point of view in treating the elderly?

    She made a comment to the doctor the other day and she said “I’m outliving my skin!” This she is, it seems.

    Medications or chemo treatments for the younger set may be too much for a 92 yr old. Anyone have this experience with a loved one? Do I just take her in when she is scheduled or if there is a problem and forget about managing this better? I am strong enough to hear the difficult answers. I’ve been her care-taker for almost 8 yrs now and I know I’ve done a good job. Are there solutions or do we just go with the flow and accept there is more going on than meets the eye?

  • Nina M moderator
    2 weeks ago

    @hawkfan01, this sounds like a really scary situation for you and your mother. It sounds like you’d like to consider a more aggressive treatment, and going to an oncologist could be one way to do that. It seems not uncommon, when people have other serious health conditions, for skin cancer to be a lower priority amongst both docs and patients, so I’m very glad you’re giving it this attention! I’m hearing that it may be time to find a doc who is on the same page. This article talks about getting a second opinion and might provide a boost: https://skincancer.net/life-with-skin-cancer/second-opinion/. Please let us know if you manage to find an oncologist to take a look at her. You deserve to be fully supported as a caregiver and loved one! – Nina, SkinCancer.net Team

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