The experiences and supportive care needs of pancreatic cancer patients

Pancreatic cancer is the 11th most common cancer in the UK with around 9800 new pancreatic cancer cases in the UK every year between 2013 and 2015. Patients diagnosed have the poorest survival prognosis of any cancer. This is due to a combination of late diagnosis, aggressive tumour biology, complex surgical procedures and a lack of effective systemic treatments.

There is a clear need for improved understanding of the physical and emotional well-being of patients with pancreatic cancer, and factors that may help improve their quality of life. In a study published by BMJ, Picker set out to explore the care experiences and supportive care needs of pancreatic cancer patients in the UK to inform future service provision.

The findings of the study showed communication with, and care received from, clinical staff were positive. However, the psychological and physical support appears to be the biggest gap in care. These needs must be assessed and supportive care interventions have to be implemented from the point of diagnosis, and monitored regularly to help patients live as good a quality of life as possible. It appears however that services are stretched, and to address these psychological concerns, additional resources in terms of staff and skill are required.

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