New Australian melanoma management guidelines: the patient perspective

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The involvement of patient advocates should ensure that new Australian melanoma management guidelines are rigorously patient-focused, according to the authors of a Perspective article published by the MJA.

“In addition to clinicians and researchers, two patient advocates (consumer representatives), representing patients with melanoma from around Australia through their affiliations with patient advocacy and support networks, were invited to join the working party,” the authors wrote. 

“These patient advocates had personal experience of melanoma diagnosis and treatment and extensive prior involvement in melanoma advocacy. This meant that they were able to make important contributions based on their experience as well as providing feedback from the patient networks they represented.”

While different stakeholders will use guidelines in different ways, they are intended to be useful to both clinicians and patients: 

  • GPs, particularly those who work in skin cancer clinics
  • Dermatologists, who see many patients when they first present with a primary melanoma but who rarely manage patients with metastatic melanoma
  • Surgeons who treat patients with both primary and metastatic melanoma
  • Medical and radiation oncologists who are involved in the care of patients with metastatic disease
  • and importantly, to patients by providing a reliable source of information

The authors concluded that the ongoing involvement of patient advocates in the process of developing and updating the Australian melanoma guidelines should ensure that they are useful and relevant to patients and that the health care outcomes most valued by them are considered, resulting in guidelines that are rigorously patient-focused, as they should be.