Introduction

Worldwide malignant melanoma is a cancer that is of concern and is rapidly increasing within the United Kingdom. It is the 5th most common cancer found in young people with approximately 14 young people between 15 to 24 years diagnosed with this disease every year in Scotland. Prognosis can be poor if diagnosis is delayed and there are good reasons to think they may not be receiving high quality, seamless, care. 

Method

This is a qualitative exploratory study using interpretive phenomenological analysis. Participants are being selected using purposive sampling and recruited from three NHS Boards across Scotland (n=12). Recruitment is dependent on where the young person and the family are receiving their care at the time.

Participatory and interactive in-depth semi-structured interviews are being conducted with the young people, and an appropriate family member. With the participant’s consent interview data is audio recorded and transcribed verbatim.  

Results

Preliminary findings suggest that participants are:

‘Out on a limb’ no access to specialist services as other patients with cancer.

 Feeling a fraud - not had chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

 Loneliness and fear – trying to protect one another.

 Challenges within health care.

 Life is on hold –looking forward to the future and now cancer! 

Discussion

Despite the seriousness of the disease and growing numbers there are reasons to think that young people may be experiencing fragmented services, insufficient support, leading to poorer outcomes. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence available upon which to highlight a) key problems and b) generate solutions.

Authors

W McInally, (Dr Z Chouliara, Dr R Kyle & Dr C Gray-Brunton – Supervisors)

Edinburgh Napier University