Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 2973–2980

Health behaviors and needs of melanoma survivors

  • Oxana Palesh
  • Arianna Aldridge-Gerry
  • Kelly Bugos
  • David Pickham
  • Jie Jane Chen
  • Ralph Greco
  • Susan M. Swetter
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00520-014-2286-0

Cite this article as:
Palesh, O., Aldridge-Gerry, A., Bugos, K. et al. Support Care Cancer (2014) 22: 2973. doi:10.1007/s00520-014-2286-0

Abstract

Purpose

Little is known about melanoma survivors’ long-term symptoms, sun protection practices, and support needs from health providers.

Methods

Melanoma survivors treated at Stanford Cancer Center from 1995 through 2011 were invited to complete a heath needs survey. We compared responses of survivors by sex, education, time since diagnosis (long-term vs. short-term survivors), and extent of treatment received (wide local excision (WLE) alone versus WLE plus additional surgical or medical treatment (WLE+)).

Results

One hundred sixty melanoma survivors (51 % male; 61 % long-term; 73 % WLE+) provided evaluable data. On average, patients were 62 years of age (SD = 14), highly educated (75 % college degree), and Caucasian (94 %). Overall, participants rated anxiety as the most prevalent symptom (34 %). Seventy percent reported that their health provider did not address their symptoms, and 53 % requested education about melanoma-specific issues. Following treatment, women spent significantly less time seeking a tan compared with men (p = 0.01), had more extremity swelling (p = 0.014), and expressed higher need for additional services (p = 0.03). Long-term survivors decreased their use of tanning beds (p = 0.03) and time spent seeking a tan (p = 0.002) and were less likely to receive skin screening every 3–6 months (p < 0.001) compared with short-term survivors. WLE+ survivors reported greater physical long-term effects than WLE survivors (p ≤ 0.001) following treatment.

Conclusions

Melanoma survivors experience continuing symptoms long after treatment, namely anxiety, and they express a need for information about long-term melanoma effects, psychosocial support, and prevention of further skin cancer.

Keywords

MelanomaSurvivorClinical servicesLong-term effectsQuality of lifeGender

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oxana Palesh
    • 1
    • 5
  • Arianna Aldridge-Gerry
    • 1
  • Kelly Bugos
    • 5
    • 6
  • David Pickham
    • 6
  • Jie Jane Chen
    • 1
  • Ralph Greco
    • 2
  • Susan M. Swetter
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryStanford University Medical Center and Cancer InstituteStanfordUSA
  3. 3.Department of Dermatology/Pigmented Lesion and Melanoma ProgramStanford University Medical Center and Cancer InstituteStanfordUSA
  4. 4.Dermatology ServiceVA Palo Alto Health Care SystemPalo AltoUSA
  5. 5.Stanford Cancer InstituteStanfordUSA
  6. 6.Stanford Hospital and ClinicsStanfordUSA