Student Projects

Investigating the impact of structured counselling for carers of people with pancreatic cancer on patient and carer outcomes

Project Supervisor/s

This project is suitable for an Honours student starting as early as Q3 2024 or could expand for a PhD student.


Pancreatic cancer is rare and deadly. Patients and their families have little time to adjust to this devastating diagnosis. Family carers of patients are confronted with the need to assist in the management of complex physical symptoms and provide emotional, financial, and spiritual support, typically with minimal support or guidance.


The Pancreatic cancer Relatives Counselling and Education Support Service or PRoCESS trial aims to determine whether talking to a trained nurse-counsellor via video or phone is helpful for carers and whether it may also affect patient outcomes.


The trial involved 176 families affected by pancreatic cancer, randomised to either receive up to 10 structured counselling and education sessions over four months, with the option for monthly booster sessions, or to receive usual care.

Project Potential

The student may assess the effect of the counselling intervention compared with the control on various outcomes including patients’ emergency department presentations, time spent in hospital, time to specialist palliative care referral and overall survival. Additionally, thematic analysis of qualitative (video) data from intervention participants’ final counselling sessions and their unsolicited feedback may be used to provide insight into consumers’ perceptions of the support service. The student will be responsible for writing up the findings for scientific publication.

To apply for this project, please contact the project supervisor/s

Ensure you have familiarised yourself with QIMR Berghofer's student program