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Cancer: Pancreatic patients have unmet needs

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Half of all respondents had one or more unmet need Half of all respondents had one or more unmet support needs

The physical and psychological support need of patients with the pancreatic cancer are not being met according to the first ever UK survey into the experiences of people with the condition.

The survey by Pancreatic Cancer UK revealed that half of all respondents had one or more unmet support needs considered either high or moderate in severity. According to the charity, the findings show a clear gap in the supportive care being offered to pancreatic cancer patients – a group which the charity believes has been neglected for decades.

‘For so many pancreatic cancer patients to tell us they have unmet support needs is heart-breaking – these are live needs which if left unaddressed can have a huge detrimental impact on their quality of life,’ said Anna Jewell, Director of Services at Pancreatic Cancer UK.

‘Pancreatic cancer is a complex disease that can progress devastatingly quickly, often leaving those affected with little time with their loved ones. We want to see support needs assessed for all pancreatic cancer patients immediately after diagnosis so that they can be helped to maintain as good a quality of life as possible.’

The majority (87%) reported one or more support needs, ranging from depression, fatigue, and financial pressures, to changes to appetite. Pancreatic Cancer UK is calling for the Government and NHS to introduce a holistic needs assessment to ensure that patients have access to personalised care immediately after diagnosis.

‘This survey highlights the unmet information and support needs that pancreatic cancer patients have across the cancer trajectory,’ said Eila Watson, Professor Supportive Cancer Care at Oxford Brookes University. ‘Needs should be assessed from the point of diagnosis and monitored regularly, with supportive care interventions implemented to help patients live as good a quality of life as possible. Further research is needed to work out how best to support patients and their families.’

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