Managing patient anxiety while undergoing skin cancer excision

Do you have many patients with anxiety? This month’s article deals with a – perhaps – uncommon, but not unimportant issue: managing patient anxiety while undergoing skin cancer excision.

The authors of this paper did a randomised trial of stress ball squeezing or hand-holding or no intervention, while patients underwent a skin cancer excision under local anaesthetic.

The study showed no difference between all three groups. Patient anxiety levels were not high to start with (3 on a score of 1-6), and levels fell over time in each group.

Using a stress ball or hand holding has no effect on reducing stress. So, what is your own practice if you sense that a patient is anxious? Probably clear, confident, reassurance from you – as the doctor – is sufficient.

I really appreciate these simple, pragmatic trials, that help us build an evidence base around our day to day work.

Professor David Wilkinson


Read more from Professor David Wilkinson on recent research:


Learn more about skin cancer medicine in primary care at the next Skin Cancer Certificate Courses:

Skin Cancer Certificate Courses in Australia

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