Table 4

Summary of participants’ views on the perceived benefits of the Melanoma Care Study

Major themesParticipant’s ID*Participant quotations
An opportunity to share one’s fears and feel understoodWP1 Cancer can be lonely and frightening and this allowed me to express all of those fears before and after appointments and about the impact on my life. This had never happened before. Other patients may not have anyone to talk to either. This was the best opportunity and I was in a dark placeyou feel so much more alive.
MP1 I feel sharing private fears helped me deal with these issues.
WP2 It helps to talk to someone who understands when you get your first melanoma.
An opportunity to explore one’s experiences in depthWP3 Engaging in a conversation with the psychologist made me realise that I still needed to address particular issues which I thought I had dealt with but obviously had not.
MP1 I felt that the sessions with my psychologist were the first real extended discussions I’ve had in relation to my melanoma risk in over 20 years of melanoma care. I was very satisfied at the end of the sessions because I felt I’d been able to share a burden and get some sensible advice.
Positive experiencesMP2 Education gives understanding and comfort.
WP1 I feel happier for having someone to talk to about it. My psychologist made me think about taking control of my life and I feel I have been given the skills to understand and manage my fear and to feel worthwhile.
MP3 Reinforced my confidence
MP4 The psychologist assisted greatly with dealing with emotional feelings.
Improved doctor-patient communicationMP1 I was given suggested strategies for dealing with negative thoughts about my melanoma risk. I was encouraged to discuss longstanding and new concerns with the high-risk clinic doctor. I felt that the psychologist was genuinely interested in helping me address concerns.
Good source of medical informationWP4 Understand what happens after diagnosis, what to expect and support options available.
WP5 A clearer understanding of the different stages of melanoma.
Supplement information from the doctorsWP4 I would recommend the booklet because it answers a lot of questions that you would sometimes forget to ask medical staff and you can also refer to it at any time to clarify any areas of confusion.
MP6 If various things are not explained by your GP, the booklet fills that void.
ReassuranceWP6 Statistics on recurrence that helped me feel calmer.
Requests for continued psychological supportMP5 I wish the support was ongoing and not just a study and I hope that the study will result in this service eventually being a part of patients’ treatment.
MP1 Provide an annual ’catch-up' counselling call.
Challenge for future supportWP1 The study and help came at the right time and the challenge for me will be to seek the help I may need in the future
WP3 I suggest at the beginning of the sessions that patients might find they’d like help and support beyond the study and help them to find a suitable psychologist… I’m not sure how to find someone who might be better for cancer patients.
WP1 Feeling withdrawn and empty for a few weeks after the counselling stopped for a few months. Knowing it’s only a study, even though I’ve been strongly encouraged to seek support after the study.
  • *WP, female participant; MP, male participant.