Talking About Melanoma Matters: Empowering patients to communicate confidently with their clinicians

Source: Nursing Times, July 2019

Delia Sworm, skin cancer clinical nurse specialist at Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, offers her perspective on the importance of shared decision-making between clinicians and people with melanoma

I have worked as a skin cancer nurse for five years, supporting people from diagnosis to recovery. Through our regular interactions with people with melanoma and their carers, clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are in a unique position to hear their concerns, answer their questions and personalise their care. We work with the multidisciplinary clinical team (MDT) to ensure they receive the treatment options best suited to their needs.

Looking back on Melanoma Awareness Month in May, it is worth noting that melanoma is now the UK’s fifth most common cancer,1 and it has the third fastest increasing incidence rates of the common cancers.2 With a number of preventable and unpreventable causes, new treatment options and the individuality of every person with melanoma, complex information needs to be tailored and communicated effectively. Decision-making needs to be shared so treatment can be better tailored to the individual and trustworthy patient-health professional relationship can be fostered.

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