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What should I keep in mind before telling people about my melanoma diagnosis?

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After a melanoma diagnosis, many people feel better if they confide in others about what’s going on. But sometimes that can backfire. You may find yourself fielding uncomfortable questions or inappropriate comments. Try these tips to keep awkward moments to a minimum -- or at least control your reaction to them:

  • Remember, it's usually not about you. People bring their own fears and memories to the table.
  • Decide carefully who you’re going to tell about your disease as well as when and how much to share.
  • If you're exhausted from explaining your diagnosis over and over again, direct people to a web site or choose a friend or family member to answer questions.
  • Have responses ready in case you get odd questions or comments, or be ready to change the subject.

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Can melanoma skin cancer be found early?" "What are the risk factors for melanoma skin cancer?" "What happens after treatment for melanoma skin cancer?" "Talking With Friends and Relatives About Your Cancer."

American Society of Clinical Oncology: "Protecting Your Skin From the Sun," "Sharing Your Story," "Recognizing Milestones," "Post-Traumatic Growth and Cancer," "Melanoma: After Treatment," "Healthy Living After Cancer."

University of Pennsylvania OncoLink: "Men's Guide to Sexuality During & After Cancer Treatment."

University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: "Sexuality & Cancer."

Dana Farber Cancer Institute: "Sexual intimacy during cancer treatment."

Skin Cancer Foundation: "Melanoma - Treatments."

Melanoma Research Foundation: "A diagnosis of melanoma affects everyone differently."

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on June 1, 2018

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Can melanoma skin cancer be found early?" "What are the risk factors for melanoma skin cancer?" "What happens after treatment for melanoma skin cancer?" "Talking With Friends and Relatives About Your Cancer."

American Society of Clinical Oncology: "Protecting Your Skin From the Sun," "Sharing Your Story," "Recognizing Milestones," "Post-Traumatic Growth and Cancer," "Melanoma: After Treatment," "Healthy Living After Cancer."

University of Pennsylvania OncoLink: "Men's Guide to Sexuality During & After Cancer Treatment."

University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: "Sexuality & Cancer."

Dana Farber Cancer Institute: "Sexual intimacy during cancer treatment."

Skin Cancer Foundation: "Melanoma - Treatments."

Melanoma Research Foundation: "A diagnosis of melanoma affects everyone differently."

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on June 1, 2018

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Will melanoma affect my sex life?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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