Melanie’s personal story
Melanie was rocked by the news of her cancer diagnosis. She considered that she had a very healthy lifestyle. She’d never really been ill before, never been a smoker or much of a drinker. Healthy, active and just 35 years old, a malignant melanoma diagnosis was the last thing she’d expected when her husband persuaded her to get an unusual-looking mole on her back checked out.
Thankfully, Melanie had access to HSC’s cancer support service through a policy provided by her employer. So, three days after receiving the devastating news, she contacted the support team for help and guidance.
If melanoma is caught early, it is almost always curable. But if it isn’t, the cancer may spread to other parts of the body where it becomes harder to treat. Melanie was due to have a scan to determine whether the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes and whether she needed an operation to remove them. A Personal Cancer Care Review with her Cancer Nurse Specialist gave Melanie an opportunity to chat everything through. For example, she was struggling to get her head around the skin cancer diagnosis and wanted to understand her likely prognosis. She was also anxious about the impending biopsy and worried about the likelihood of the cancer coming back again in the future.
“Melanie had access to HSC’s cancer support service through a policy provided by her employer.”
Practical information and emotional support
Her time on the phone with her Cancer Nurse Specialist helped Melanie offload the things on her mind and come to terms with her skin cancer diagnosis. She learned more about what having her lymph nodes removed would entail should it be necessary. And she was given advice about how to cope with any unpleasant side effects. She also had an opportunity to talk through her concerns about future recurrence and her Cancer Nurse Specialist advised what abnormal changes to look out for.
Reducing the wait
Melanie had a three week wait for her scan on the NHS. As part of the cancer support service provided through her employer, HSC liaised with its network of cancer specialists to arrange her consultation and scan on her behalf – all within the week and around her existing work commitments.
“HSC liaised with its network of cancer specialists to arrange her consultation and biopsy on her behalf – all within the week and around her existing work commitments.”
Melanie was delighted with the holistic support she received for her skin cancer. She didn’t need to have her lymph nodes removed, has recently been promoted at work and feels optimistic for the future. She now just has monitoring scans every so often to keep things in check.