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Perception of burden experienced during diagnostic tests by melanoma patients with lymph node metastases

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  • Medicine
  • Psychology


Melanoma patients with lymph node metastases have to deal with diagnostic tests to exclude the presence of distant metastases; results of the tests could have major implications for their prognosis and treatment There are, however, few studies concerning the patients' psychological issues and perception of diagnostic tests. The aim of this study was to describe the burden of diagnostic tests [radiograph, computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET)] experienced by melanoma patients with lymph node metastases. Patients were asked to complete a questionnaire concerning satisfaction and burden experienced during the diagnostic tests. The levels of embarrassment, discomfort and anxiety for the different tests, as well as total scores for each burden were calculated. Logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with the degree of experienced burden. Fifty-nine of the 68 patients completed the questionnaire and the response rate was 87%. The overall mean scores on satisfaction and quality of life were high. More than half of the patients experienced no burden during PET, 65% no burden during computed tomography and 80% no burden during chest radiograph. Patients experienced significantly more discomfort during the PET scan than during the CT (P=0.003). Less burden was experienced (in univariate analysis) by patients who were more satisfied. The overall experienced burden by patients is low and should therefore not interfere with primary choice for a diagnostic test based on accuracy, costs and percentage of patients upstaged. Attention should be paid in explaining the procedure and answering questions of the patients to reduce burden. Melanoma Res 19:36-41 (C) 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health vertical bar Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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