Melanoma study shines light on patient needs
Saturday, 25 August 2012
Australians who have undergone surgery for melanoma in the past five years are being sought for a new national study looking at the ongoing needs of patients after they've been treated.
Previous research in Australia has focused on the cause, risk and incidence of melanoma, including sun exposure and genetic testing. This is the first time a specific study has been conducted in Australia to understand melanoma patients' experience, expectations and preferences in follow-up care.
"By better understanding melanoma patients' own experiences of follow-up care, our study will be able to identify any gaps that currently exist and make recommendations for improvements to patient services," says Janine Mitchell, who is conducting the study as part of her Masters degree in Public Health, in the School of Population Health.
"The incidence of melanoma in Australia is rising, which means increasing numbers of people are requiring surgery to remove melanomas. That also means a greater need for long-term follow-up care after their treatment is completed."
People who have already been treated for melanoma run a high risk of developing a second serious melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer.
"We hope this study will highlight some important issues that need to be considered for improving patient care following treatment for melanoma," says Cancer Council SA's General Manager Cancer Control, Jacquie Bowden.
"Follow-up consults are vital in helping to ensure the early detection of recurring melanomas and in providing an opportunity for further patient education to reduce skin cancer risk. They can also provide reassurance and counselling to patients requiring a higher level of care."
Australians who have been treated for melanoma and attended follow-up consults any time after 1 January 2007 are invited to participate in the study. This involves filling out a confidential online survey, which should take approximately 10 minutes to complete.
The survey can be found online here: http://bit.ly/UAmelanoma
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