When Patients Deal With Recurrence Anxiety, Oncology Nurses Can Help

Source: Oncology Nursing, October 2019

My first oncology nursing role was as a chemotherapy research nurse at our regional cancer center during the mid-1970s. Most of our patients had progressive or advanced cancer with limited treatment options, and thus were receiving clinical trial regimens. We saw a lot of malignant melanoma because one of our senior oncologists focused his research on it.

Following my clinic experience, I was in graduate school and went to the student health service to have a mole evaluated. It was on my lower forearm where I wore my watch, so it wasn’t always visible, but I noticed that it had turned maroon and had irregular borders. Yet during this visit, I was told it was nothing to worry about.

My first job after receiving my master’s degree took me 3000 miles from home to live on the opposite coast. A professional portrait was needed. Sensitive about the number of moles on my neck (later I would be told that I had dysplastic nevus syndrome), I made an appointment to have them removed. While there, I said to the dermatologist, “Do me a favor and remove this one from my forearm too. I’ve been told it’s nothing, but I want it taken off.” He acquiesced to my request.

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