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Journal of Skin Cancer
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 2041872, 8 pages
Research Article

A Qualitative Study of Quality of Life Concerns following a Melanoma Diagnosis

1Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
2Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
3Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
4Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
5Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Rachel I. Vogel

Received 10 March 2017; Accepted 4 May 2017; Published 28 May 2017

Academic Editor: Nihal Ahmad

Copyright © 2017 Rachel I. Vogel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The goal of this study was to identify a relevant and inclusive list of quality of life issues among long-term survivors of melanoma. Individuals diagnosed with stage I-III cutaneous melanoma and had survived 1-5 years, ages 18-65 years at diagnosis, were recruited. Five focus groups were conducted with 33 participants in total. Discussions centered on participants’ experiences at diagnosis, as well as ongoing physical, emotional, and social concerns, and behavioral changes since diagnosis. The majority of participants reported shock, fear, and feeling overwhelmed at the time of diagnosis. Some reported lingering physical concerns, including pain, numbness, and lymphedema, while a few reported no lasting issues. Emotional concerns were common, with most reporting anxiety. Several also noted feeling lonely and isolated. Social concerns included alteration of activities to avoid sun exposure, issues with family communication, and frustration with the lack of appreciation of the seriousness of melanoma by others. Finally, while many participants reported changes to their sun exposure and UV-protection behaviors, some reported little to no change. The shared experiences among participants in this study confirm the unique nature of melanoma and the need for interventions designed to improve the health and quality of life of melanoma survivors.