Purpose: People with melanoma traditionally attend cancer centre-based follow-up. Most recurrences and new primary melanomas are, however, detected by patients between hospital visits. Despite this, total skin self-examination (TSSE) practices are suboptimal. Digital technologies could be used to support TSSE. The attitudes of potential users are unknown; this study aims to explore the attitudes of people with melanoma towards using digital technologies and the effect of personal characteristics on their attitudes.
Methods: Twenty-one hospital joint melanoma clinic patients aged 37-83 were purposively recruited. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore patients' views on the use of digital technology during follow-up and identify barriers or facilitators. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and subject to framework analysis.
Results: Participants had a wide range of IT skills. All used a mobile phone, most had heard of telemedicine and several had used Skype. Participants felt that with thought, tailoring and training, technology could enable self-monitoring as part of melanoma follow-up. Technological benefits included having a co-ordinating nurse specialist, contactable electronically, and having a personalised skin map and tailored information about melanoma. Participants cautioned that technological developments must take account of personal needs and characteristics. Few had security concerns.
Conclusions: People are not currently equipped to undertake self-monitoring as part of their melanoma follow-up, but many would be keen to employ technology to support this. A range of technologies could be utilised with potential benefits. Technologies should be carefully designed and individually tailored, considering age, familiarity with technology, place of residence and time since diagnosis.