New virtual nurse offers support to ocular melanoma patients

New virtual nurse offers support to ocular melanoma patients

13 Aug 2021

In an Australian first, a new specialist telehealth service has launched out of St Vincent’s to support patients with ocular melanoma across Australia. 

The National Melanoma Nurse will provide patients with cancer care, support with changes to vision and other complications, as well as link to counselling and information about clinical trials and possible treatment options. 

Funded by the St Vincent’s Curran Foundation and the Australasian Ocular Melanoma Alliance (AOMA), the nurse will provide an essential service not currently available in Australia, and of particular benefit to patients in rural and remote areas who would otherwise need to travel long distances and spend time away from support networks, in order to receive life-saving treatment. 

St Vincent’s Director of Medical Oncology, Professor Anthony Joshua, says the National Melanoma Nurse is a game changer for those diagnosed with this rare disease.

“Because ocular melanoma is not a common disease, many patients end up having to turn to informal channels, like Facebook groups, for advice. This initiative provides a much-needed formal support mechanism that can provide high-quality advice that can not only improve their quality of life, but potentially save it,” Prof Joshua says. 

“Over the pandemic we’ve all become acclimatised to virtual calls and telehealth appointments, so the melanoma nurse has launched at a particularly poignant time. I look forward to seeing this initiative progress and have a real impact, as it’s a truly exciting development for ocular melanoma patients and their families.”

The National Melanoma Nurse is based out of Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital but will treat patients Nationally.