Sun & Skin News

Building the Robins Nest

By Ali Venosa • January 11, 2021
robins nest

This Skin Cancer Foundation program was created in 2020 to help connect skin cancer patients with the many resources available.

For many years, The Skin Cancer Foundation has received calls, emails, Facebook messages and handwritten letters from those affected by skin cancer asking for help. Many reach out with a variation of one question that comes up at any and all of the stages in the skin cancer journey: “What now?” Here are some examples:

My mother is supposed to start taking an oral medication to treat her advanced basal cell carcinoma. She takes a lot of other medications, and I’m worried about interactions. How do I know if this will cause problems for her? Is this the best option for her?”

I went to the surgeon my dermatologist recommended for a consultation. I don’t think we saw eye to eye, and I’m not comfortable going to him for treatment. My dermatologist insisted he’s the best choice, but I didn’t feel he heard my concerns. Now I’m uncomfortable with both doctors. Should I get a second opinion?”

I had a BCC diagnosed in February. My doctor told me it was in an early stage and growing slowly, so I didn’t worry too much. When I was finally able to go to the surgeon, he said it’s a lot bigger than before and the surgery will cost a lot. How can this be? It was supposed to be slow growing. I can’t afford to pay for it, and I don’t have health insurance.”

Patients like these inspired us to launch Robins Nest, a patient support resources program designed to guide patients to resources that help them find answers to questions like these. Created in the spirit of the Foundation’s founder, Perry Robins, MD, and his tireless efforts to ensure that his patients felt supported and confident, Robins Nest aims to provide guidance and direction to patients, caregivers, families and friends dealing with a skin cancer diagnosis and the ensuing treatment. Since skin cancer reaches far beyond the walls of the doctor’s office and encroaches on every aspect of life, it can leave people feeling overwhelmed, lost or hopeless. As much as physicians want to help, most simply don’t have the time or resources to guide patients through every question they may have, especially now, during a global pandemic.

We want you to know that you’re not alone in your skin cancer diagnosis. Whether you’re searching for credible medical treatment assistance, medication safety, financial or travel information, coping support or need help with any of the other issues that can arise while being treated for skin cancer, we’re here for you. We hope that our resources can help you overcome some of these feelings and perhaps learn to be your own best advocate. Our goal is to help you feel empowered to make the right decisions for your situation.

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive at The Skin Cancer Foundation is:

“There’s a strange spot on my skin that has me worried. Is it skin cancer?”

No one but a trained medical professional should assess a lesion, perform a biopsy or diagnose a skin cancer. If you’re concerned about something new, changing or unusual on your skin, don’t wait to get it checked. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends finding a dermatologist you can see regularly to evaluate any suspicious moles or lesions (and that you have a professional skin exam at least once a year). We understand, though, that sometimes the nearest dermatologist is prohibitively far away. If you can’t reach a dermatologist in person or through telemedicine services, it’s better to have your primary care physician take a look at your skin than to let your concerns slide.

Find more information at SkinCancer.org/robinsnest.

Top Tips from Robins Nest

While every patient’s skin cancer journey is unique, anyone can use tips from Robins Nest to take charge and help the process — from diagnosis through treatment — go as smoothly as possible.

Do inform all members of your health-care team about your skin cancer diagnosis and any proposed treatment. This includes your primary care physician, specialists, dentist, pharmacist and all other health-care providers. Make sure each doctor receives an updated copy of your current medication list.

Don’t depend on Dr. Google until you know that you can trust the reliability of a health or medical website. Find accurate, medically reviewed skin cancer information through trusted sources such as top cancer centers and, of course, The Skin Cancer Foundation website, SkinCancer.org.

Visit the Robins Nest to Get Started Now

Head to SkinCancer.org/robinsnest for all our patient resources, including more Do’s and Don’ts, and an ever-growing list of support organizations and services to guide you during skin cancer journey and help you heal physically and emotionally.

Featured in The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal 2020

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