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A feasibility study of a peer discussion group intervention for patients with pancreatobiliary cancer and their caregivers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2021

Yuko Yanai*
Department of Psycho-Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital, Chuo-ku, Japan
Reiko Ando Makihara
Department of Pharmacy, National Cancer Center Hospital, Chuo-ku, Japan
Naoko Matsunaga
Consultation, Counseling and Support Service Center, National Cancer Center Hospital, Chuo-ku, Japan
Rieko Shimizu
Consultation, Counseling and Support Service Center, National Cancer Center Hospital, Chuo-ku, Japan
Sayaka Tominaga
Department of Nursing, National Cancer Center Hospital, Chuo-ku, Japan
Saki Hoshino
Nutrition Management Office, National Hospital Organization Niigata National Hospital, Niigata, Japan
Yukiko Nishibuchi
Department of Pharmacy, National Cancer Center Hospital, Chuo-ku, Japan
Yuta Maruki
Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital, Chuo-ku, Japan
Akihiro Ohba
Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital, Chuo-ku, Japan
Ken Shimizu
Department of Psycho-Oncology, Cancer Institute Hospital of JFCR, Koto-ku, Japan
Takuji Okusaka
Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital, Chuo-ku, Japan
Author for correspondence: Yuko Yanai, Department of Psycho-Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital, Chuo-ku, Japan. E-mail:



The purpose of this feasibility study was to examine the impacts of a peer discussion group intervention called “the pancreatobiliary cancer salon” on psychological distress among patients with pancreatobiliary cancer and their caregivers.


We recruited patients with pancreatic or biliary tract cancer and their caregivers. We conducted a within-group pre–post comparison study. Participants were grouped by the type of cancer and treatment. Each group consisted of four to five patients or caregivers. Hospital staff members facilitated group discussions where participants freely talked for 1 h. We evaluated participants’ psychological condition using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and their impressions of the pancreatobiliary cancer salon.


We analyzed data from 42 patients and 27 caregivers who joined the salon for the first time. Thirty-five patients (83.3%) had pancreatic cancer. Thirty-one patients (71.4%) had unresectable pancreatobiliary cancer and 14 patients (33.3%) were being treated with second-line or third-line chemotherapy at the time of the survey. Twenty-two patients (52.4%) participated in the salon within 6 months after diagnosis. Most participating caregivers were the patient's spouse/partner (51.9%) or child (34.6%). Both patients and caregivers experienced high levels of satisfaction with the pancreatobiliary cancer salon. Both patients and caregivers had significantly lower psychological distress as assessed by POMS after the salon.

Significance of results

A peer discussion group intervention might be well-received and has potential to benefit for patients with pancreatobiliary cancer and their caregivers.

Original Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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