Coping with Melanoma
Acknowledge and discuss your concerns. This can be helpful in correcting misconceptions you may have about your melanoma, helping you understand why you may have reacted to your diagnosis in certain ways, resolving troubling thoughts and feelings and gaining the emotional support of those who care about you. Melanoma can be a much lighter burden if you share your concerns with your friends and family. We also believe it is important for you as a patient to become involved in your treatment. You can promote your recovery by:
- Maintaining a positive outlook
- Identifying activities that you feel will be of benefit to you such as:
- Making changes in diet and exercise
- Reducing stress in your daily life
Should I Stay Out of The Sun?
There is no evidence that sun exposure will alter the course of the melanoma you had. Being in the sun will not increase the chances for recurrence. If you enjoy the outdoors, don't alter your lifestyle because of the melanoma. Use good judgment, however. Over-exposure to the sun might increase your risk of developing a new melanoma or another kind of skin cancer. Be sure to use an adequate sun screen as a precaution and reapply it regularly.
How Should I Cope With Melanoma?
The first and most important step toward coping with the emotional impact of melanoma is for you as a patient to:
- Talk openly about your feelings and concerns
- Ask whatever questions you have about melanoma
- Ask about your own particular condition
- Gather as much information as possible about the disease and about therapeutic options so that you can make informed decisions regarding therapy.
What Should I Eat?
No diet will absolutely prevent recurrence of melanoma, but you can help your immune system by eating a diet with enough calories, protein and necessary nutrients. It is also important that your diet is balanced. You must eat well to reduce the side effects and toxicity of treatment, prevent weight loss, correct nutritional depletion and provide needed trace nutrients.
What About Vitamin Supplements?
There is evidence that a low level of Vitamin D can make melanoma outcome worse. Therefore, we recommend checking the Vitamin D level, and if it is low, taking a Vitamin D supplement. Where other deficiencies exist, vitamin and mineral supplements may be appropriate, although the ideal is still to obtain sufficient nutrition through your diet. Taking vitamins is usually not harmful. However, beware of excessive doses of any nutrient. Registered dietitians are your resource for information about vitamins, mineral and exaggerated claims of "special" diets.