Informational needs of patients with melanoma and their views on the utility of investigative tests.
Constantinidou A., Afuwape SA., Linsell L., Hung T., Acland K., Healy C., Ramirez AJ., Harries M.
BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to identify the informational needs of patients with melanoma on disease status and prognosis, and to ascertain their views on the utility of positron emission tomography (PET) and sentinel node biopsy (SNB). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients attending the weekly melanoma outpatient clinic at St Thomas' Hospital London UK between February and August 2007 participated in this cross-sectional survey. Views of 106 melanoma patients were elicited using a face-to face semi-structured questionnaire. RESULTS: The majority of participants wanted to know everything about their disease (88%). Prognostic information (> 85%) and information on palliative care input (97%) were highly valued. More than 50% expected the doctor to impart this information without negotiation. Nearly 70% of the responders who had previously had a PET scan felt they should decide if and when the scans should be performed. Fifty three percentage had undergone the SNB because the doctor had suggested it. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with melanoma want detailed and prompt information about their disease including prognosis. Regular PET scans provide reassurance. The role of SNB is not clear to all patients.