Immunotherapy is now standard treatment for most metastatic melanoma patients, and its use is increasing across cancer in general. Toxicity can range from mild to life threatening. It is essential that patients understand and recognize toxicities early and are confident in contacting the nurse or after hours medical team should they arise. This study evaluated whether education provided by the Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC) regarding immunotherapy was valued by melanoma patients and to establish if age reflects the format of written information preferred by patients.
Melanoma patients commencing treatment with Pembrolizumab, Nivolumab, or Ipilimumab at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Melanoma Institute Australia between January 2016 and June 2017 were provided with verbal and written (paper and/or specific internet website) education by a dedicated Melanoma CNC. Patients were invited to complete a short questionnaire after the education session.
80 of 84 melanoma patients who underwent education completed the questionnaire (response rate = 95%). The analysis of responders confirmed 100% positive feedback regarding the delivery, quality and usefulness of the information provided by the CNCs. All respondents felt confident to contact the CNC or after hours team if they experienced any adverse symptoms. Patients ≤55yrs (100%) indicated that they preferred an electronic format compared to patients >55yrs (61%) (P= 0.03).
Melanoma patients receiving immunotherapy value CNC-led education and support. The format of written education material differs by age, with younger patients preferring electronic resources.