FINDING THE RIGHT DOCTOR
It is very important to ensure you find the right doctor to meet your specific needs. A specialist who is very familiar with melanoma and has treated many patients in the past is your best option. You should also seek a center of excellence for guidance and treatment options.
In Canada the provision of cancer treatment is a provincial and territorial responsibility.
The Public Health Agency of Canada provides the following information on where and how specific treatments are provided:
Provided by provincial cancer agencies and community hospitals that are independent of the agencies. The provincial cancer agencies are publicly funded and manage the treatment facilities.
Systemic Therapy is the administration of chemotherapy drugs, hormones, antibodies vaccines, and other agents that can travel through the body to attack cancer and is provided through cancer centres and treatment facilities outside of the comprehensive cancer centres i.e. special outreach clinics or medical oncologists in private practice.
Provided in cancer centres.
Surgery (including biopsies)
Provided through publicly funded acute care hospitals. Supportive care services are provided through hospitals, cancer centres, and community-based services.
Provide care through multidisciplinary teams that consist of surgeons and radiation and medical oncologists who work with nurses, anaesthesiologists, medical physicists, radiation therapists, pathologists, pharmacists, primary care physicians, and supportive care workers.
To find a melanoma specialist, please click here
A dermatologist is a medical doctor (MD, or physician) who specializes in the skin, the diseases of the skin, and the relationship of skin lesions to overall disease.
A surgeon is a doctor who performs any biopsies (cells or tissues are removed from the body and examined to help with a diagnosis) or surgery that you may need.
A surgical oncologist is a surgeon who has received specific training in treating cancer by removing lumps or tumours from the body.
A radiologist reads and interprets x-rays and other imaging tests. This member of your team may also perform biopsies during specialized x-ray procedures.
A pathologist looks at the tissue from the biopsy under a microscope to see if it has cancer cells.
A medical oncologist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of cancer using different medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.
An oncology nurse has received special education and has experience in caring for people with cancer. Oncology nurses provide information and support, and work in a variety of settings such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy departments, oncology units and in the community.
An oncology pharmacist prepares and dispenses cancer drugs and other medications, and helps teach you about your medications.
Oncology Social Worker or Psychologist
An oncology social worker or psychologist can help you and your family cope with cancer and its treatment.
A physiotherapist helps with the physical recovery from your illness. This member of your team can help maintain and help improve your overall fitness and health.
An occupational therapist helps you manage daily activities.This member of your team can design and provide devices to help you regain your independence and improve your quality of life.
A registered dietitian has received special education in nutrition and has additional clinical training. This member of your team can advise you about your diet.
A doctor who specializes in reconstructive surgery to reduce scarring or disfigurement, or to improve appearance. May also conduct inital surgery on melanoma patients to remove moles or lesions or to remove tissue and extend the margins around a melanoma lesion.
Your family doctor plays an important part in your general healthcare before, during and after your cancer treatments are over.