More Than Just A Diagnosis: Pancreatic Cancer Support Group

Angela Heller, LMSWIn difficult situations, we naturally turn to others for emotional support. Family and friends do the best they can, but sometimes people need to be with others who directly share the same experience. This is often true for patients facing diseases such as pancreatic cancer. Upon receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, it is natural for patients to feel confusion, fear, anger, and to have many questions.

Although the Pancreas Center doctors do their best to answer patients' questions and concerns, they must focus their time and attention on each patient’s medical condition and plan of care. Yet pancreatic cancer has far-reaching effects across patients’ entire lives, affecting virtually every aspect of daily life for themselves and their family. Patients need support and information about a broad variety of other concerns related to their illness, such as depression and anxiety, financial difficulties that may result from inability to work, impact on family relationships, and many others. 

The Pancreatic Cancer Support Group was created to address these needs by providing support, information, and resources for patients and their families. Each meeting usually features a guest speaker who discusses topics such as nutrition, exercise, clinical trials, psychiatric care, genetics and new treatment options. The second half of the meeting is open format, in which participants can share or discuss whatever they choose. Attendees may talk about any matters of concern with social worker Angela Heller, and may also ask the nurse practitioner about medical questions. Perhaps most importantly, participants celebrate their joys together and offer their solace and support in times of grief. The group has naturally fostered many long-lasting friendships, as patients often communicate outside the group as well.  

In keeping with the approach at the Pancreas Center, the Pancreatic Support Group strives to provide a positive and encouraging environment to patients and their families.

For information, contact Angela Heller at 212.305.2347 or

The Pancreatic Cancer Support group is open to the public. Family and friends are welcome to attend. 

Download Support Group Flyer (PDF File) »

The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month in the Herbert Irving Pavilion, 12th Floor located on the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center campus in Washington Heights from 4pm-6pm.