Follow-up information sessions for melanoma patients

Alice Andrews, Cancer Nurse Specialist at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, Reading, UK, explains the rationale behind an awareness and education program for melanoma patients post-treatment, which she set up. This started when she noticed a trend of psychological issues in a skin cancer follow-up clinic. These problems included anxiety and coping problems, indicating something was missing for this group of patients. She suggests that this was mainly due to the speed of the whole process from diagnosis, to further surgery, and the subsequent 3-monthly checkups. To investigate this, an informal focus group was set up involving Macmillan Cancer Support and The Wellbeing Project. Following this a questionnaire investigated the usefulness of follow-up sessions for patients in follow-up within a year. This gave positive results, with 44 out of 55 patients saying they would like to attend one-off educational sessions. Information was also collected on what patients wanted. Responses included information on prevention of further melanoma, how to self-check moles and lymph nodes, and how to cope with the psychological impact of melanoma. As a result, information sessions were set up for all melanoma patients, as part of their follow-up. Recorded at the 2016 Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) Annual Conference, held in Brighton, UK.

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