Patients’ experiences of coping with nodal relapse of melanoma
Intended for healthcare professionals
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Patients’ experiences of coping with nodal relapse of melanoma

Sheena Stothers Complex skin cancer clinical nurse specialist, Cancer Services, Ulster Hospital
Eilis McCaughan Professor of cancer care, Institute of Nursing and Health Research, University of Ulster

Sheena Stothers and Eilis McCaughan describe a study to investigate the support needs of this unique patient group

Aim To explore patients’ information and support needs when diagnosed with nodal relapse of melanoma, as well as their experiences of the changing nature of coping with nodal relapse.

Method Individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted.

Findings A sample of six patients who had undergone surgical block dissection of neck, axilla or groin for nodal relapse of melanoma within the last two years revealed that they experienced a transition process. This transition appeared to begin at initial diagnosis as they began to consider and understand their risk of nodal relapse. They appeared to continue to develop coping skills to live with this threat and displayed anticipatory coping skills when diagnosed with nodal relapse. Some of the needs identified included information on longer-term physical effects post-surgery and review arrangements.

Conclusion These findings could enable health professionals to identify the information and support needs for this unique patient group, plan patient-focused care and inform the development of services.

Cancer Nursing Practice. 14, 6, 32-37. doi: 10.7748/cnp.14.6.32.e1220


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 12 May 2015

Accepted: 04 June 2015

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