As the bell tolls: A foundation study on pancreatic cancer consumer's research priorities

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Background: This is the first investigation of its kind to explore the views of people affected by pancreatic cancer with regard to research priorities. Pancreatic cancer has an extremely poor outlook in terms of early diagnosis, effective treatment and survival. Those affected by the disease generally lack opportunities to voice their needs or concerns in an organised manner, link with others affected by the condition and take part in research. Methods: This qualitative study adopts a self-selected telephone focussed discussion group approach. Information was obtained from distinct carer and patient groups after adequate controls such as the 'safe space' technique (repeatedly enquiring on and respecting the emotional needs) were implemented to protect participants from undue physical and psychological distress. Results: Five themes emerged overall, with three themes being common between the patients and carers groups. Early detection, clinician communication and public awareness were areas of recurring discussion and consensus for both groups. The fourth theme to emerge for the patient group centred on quality of care, while the fourth theme of the carer group focused on the need for more and improved treatment options. Conclusion: Research priorities for pancreatic cancer consumers have been identified via an investigation that was tailored to meet exceptional needs. This research gives us a primary understanding of the role that pancreatic cancer patients can play in identifying areas of research that are responsive to their needs and priorities when suitably planned. Importantly it also provides a much greater understanding of the grim realities of the disease for those affected. This work is likely to be of value to anyone planning to work with those with a time limited, challenging condition.




Saunders, C., Gooden, H., Robotin, M., & Mumford, J. (2009). As the bell tolls: A foundation study on pancreatic cancer consumer’s research priorities. BMC Research Notes, 2.

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