We have three pancreatic cancer projects:
- Queensland Pancreatic Cancer Study: The causes of pancreatic cancer are not well known. Being able to more accurately predict people’s risk of pancreatic cancer may assist with prevention or early diagnosis. The aims of the QPCS are therefore to understand the genetic and environmental risk factors for pancreatic cancer. Between 2007 and 2011 we recruited approximately 700 people who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 700 people who had not. We asked all participants about lifestyle, occupation, diet and past medical history and obtained a blood sample. We are now analysing the data. Our first publication shows that people who have lived in areas with high ultraviolet radiation are at lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those who have spent most of their lives in areas with lower ultraviolet radiation (Tran et al, Cancer Epidemiology 2013).
- Patterns of Care in Patients with Pancreatic Cancer: Caring for patients with pancreatic cancer is very difficult due to the small proportion who are able to undergo surgery and the very poor prognosis. There is anecdotal evidence of variability in care in Australia but this has not been well documented. The NHMRC has therefore funded a project to document the ways that patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in Queensland and New South Wales are managed. We have identified patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and notified to the state cancer registries. Trained nurses have visited hospitals (on average three per patient) to capture a comprehensive series of information about their care. We have reviewed the records of over 1,500 patients. Data collection finished on 30 June 2013 and we are now in the process of analysing this rich dataset.
- Quality of life in patients with pancreatic cancer: Quality of life has been identified as a key outcome of cancer care. Patients with pancreatic cancer are at particular risk of having poor quality of life due to the physical and psychological aspects of having a difficult to treat cancer. We asked approximately 150 patients to complete comprehensive questionnaires about their quality of life at different stages of their journey. In addition, we have conducted qualitative interviews with approximately 20 patients to better understand the stories underpinning the data.