In 2007, the basic plan to promote a cancer-control program provided opportunities for improving physician's communication skills in the areas of disclosing the cancer diagnosis and other communication aspects of supporting the patient and families affected by cancer.
In cooperation with the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and the Foundation for Promotion of Medical Training, the Japanese Psycho-Oncology Society (JPOS) have conducted advanced communication skills, SHARE workshops for highly motivated oncologists since 2007. The SHARE workshop is learner-centered and focuses on building enhancing the strengths of each participate in communicating with cancer patients. Each cohort of learners consists of 16–32 oncologists who learn breaking bad news, discussing refractory cancer, informing of disease recurrence and stopping anti-cancer treatment. Based on our communication skills research, empathy skills are especially emphasized.
In our format, participants work in small groups consisting of four oncologists, two facilitators, and a trained simulated patient. Each oncologist participant interviews the standardized patient for a total of 2 h in two task-focused sessions such as discussing end of anti-cancer treatment. Facilitators, one psychiatrist or psychologist, and one oncologist, trained as a pair for 40-h training by the JPOS facilitate each small group and coach individuals through the learning tasks. During the 5-year period, the number of physicians participating in the SHARE workshops was ∼500. The new 80 facilitators joined the workshops. We are looking forward to reporting the results of our efforts precisely.