A peer discussion group for patients with pancreatobiliary cancer and their caregivers was found, in a feasibility study, to be well-received. These findings were published in Palliative and Support Care.

Pancreatobiliary cancers are among the most lethal malignancies. As such, these patients and their caregivers experience significant psychological burden. To assess whether a support group comprising those going through similar difficulties may benefit these dyads, 80 patients and 38 of their caregivers were recruited at the National Cancer Center Hospital Japan between 2017 and 2018. Study participants responded to a questionnaire prior to and after “the pancreatobiliary cancer salon” intervention.

The salon was an emotional support group held every 2 months. Each group comprised 4 to 5 patients or caregivers and the discussion was facilitated by a hospital staff member.

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Patients and caregivers were mean age 63.90 and 55.63 years and 64.3% and 66.7% were women, respectively. The patients had pancreatic cancer (83.3%), were stage IV (50.0%), and were receiving chemotherapy (90.5%).

The participants responded favorably to the intervention and were satisfied with hearing other perspectives.

After the intervention, patients had significant changes in confusion-bewilderment (P <.001), tension-anxiety (P <.001), total mood disturbance (P <.001), depression-dejection (P <.01), anger-hostility (P <.01), and fatigue-inertia (P <.05) scores. Caregivers also had changes in each measure (all P <.001).

Among those participants who had high levels of baseline mood disturbance, these patients and caregivers only had changes to confusion-bewilderment scores (P =.004) and total mood disturbance scores (P =.008), respectively.

This study was limited by power, in that no subgroup analyses were performed.

These data indicated that a patient- and caregiver-specific peer support group may help some of them cope with the psychological burden associated with pancreatobiliary cancers.


Yanai Y, Makihara RA, Matsunaga N, et al. A feasibility study of a peer discussion group intervention for patients with pancreatobiliary cancer and their caregivers. Palliat Support Care. 2021;1-8. doi:10.1017/S1478951521001474