Mirjam Rogl Butina, Igor Švab, Barbara Perić and Igor Bartenjev
Most data related to cutaneous melanoma survivors’ health behaviour comes from epidemiological studies and is predominantly concerned with safe-sun behaviour and self-examination. Data regarding other changes of health behaviour are scarce and so are qualitative studies in this realm. The aim of our research is to acquire insight into the experiences of patients with cutaneous melanoma in Slovenia. How did they react to the diagnosis, which changes did they introduce in their health behaviour and how do they assess the role of family doctors?
Using the qualitative approach of collective case reports, a demographically diverse group of patients with different forms and stages of cutaneous melanoma was selected. Semi-structured interviews conducted by a psychologist were recorded and transcribed verbatim. For data processing, the approach of Qualitative Content Analysis was applied.
We integrated interviewees’ experiences after the diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma in several subcategories: either they did not introduce any changes or they mentioned changing their habits when exposed to the sun and performing skin self-examination; they also emphasized their ways of dealing with stress and raising awareness about melanoma among family members and friends. The role of family doctors in the prevention and care appears unclear; even contradictory.
We obtained insight into the experiences of Slovenian patients with cutaneous melanoma. The interviewees prioritised safe behaviour in the sun, strengthening of psychological stability and raising awareness about melanoma. Findings will be used in the creation of a structured questionnaire for national epidemiological survey.