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Peer support for people with advanced cancer: a systematically constructed scoping review of quantitative and qualitative evidence

Walshe, Catherinea; Roberts, Dianeb

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: September 2018 - Volume 12 - Issue 3 - p 308–322
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000370
LIVING WITH CANCER AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF TREATMENT: Edited by Lynn Calman and Natasha Campling

Purpose of review The number of people living with advanced cancer is increasing, and appropriate support to this population is essential. Peer support is increasingly advocated as a component of care, but little is known about how to provide this in the context of advanced cancer. This review describes the experience and impact of different forms of peer support for people with advanced cancer.

Recent findings Data from 22 articles were reviewed, primarily descriptive studies. They describe three forms of peer support (one-to-one, group, and online), reaching primarily those who are women, middle-aged, and well educated. Only two studies focused on support to people with advanced cancer, but those with advanced cancer were frequent users of all forms of peer support. Benefits of peer support were described, but no data were presented to allow a determination of the best form of support for people with advanced cancer.

Summary Practitioners can be assured that peer support is likely to be beneficial and provide care that complements that of clinicians. However, there is a need for a comprehensive programme of high-quality evaluative research of peer support for people with advanced cancer.

aInternational Observatory on End-of-Life Care, Division of Health Research, Lancaster University, Lancaster

bDivision of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Correspondence to Catherine Walshe, International Observatory on End-of-Life Care, Division of Health Research, Lancaster University, Bai. lrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YX, UK. Tel: +44 1524 510124; e-mail: c.walshe@lancaster.ac.uk

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