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Early integration of palliative and cancer care improves the quality of life and is facilitated by discussions about the end of life after cessation of active cancer treatment between patients with advanced cancer and their physicians. However, both patients and physicians find end-of-life discussions challenging. The aim of this study was to assess the need for a question prompt list (QPL) that encourages end-of-life discussions between patients with advanced cancer and their physicians.
Focus group interviews (FGIs) were conducted with 18 participants comprising 5 pancreatic cancer patients, 3 family caregivers, 4 bereaved family members, and 6 physicians. Three themes were discussed: question items that should be included in the QPL that encourages end-of-life discussions with patients, family caregivers, and physicians after cessation of active cancer treatment; when the QPL should be provided; and who should provide the QPL. Each interview was audio-recorded, and content analysis was performed.
The following 9 categories, with 57 question items, emerged from the FGIs: (1) preparing for the end of life, (2) treatment decision-making, (3) current and future quality of life, (4) current and future symptom management, (5) information on the transition to palliative care services, (6) coping with cancer, (7) caregivers’ role, (8) psychological care, and (9) continuity of cancer care. Participants felt that the physician in charge of the patient's care and other medical staff should provide the QPL early during active cancer treatment.
Significance of results
Data were collected to develop a QPL that encourages end-of-life discussions between patients with advanced cancer and their physicians.
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.
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