Pancreatic cancer and research

Research into cancer is often reported in the news and it can feel as though you are being given different information every day. The pages here will explain the process of research, answer some common questions about research into pancreatic cancer and help you to understand more about the stories you may read.

What is research?

Research is the process of conducting an investigation to solve a problem, increase knowledge or create something new. Medical research examines the causes, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Pancreatic cancer research aims to discover why the disease happens and how to prevent it, signs and symptoms, best treatments and how to improve quality of life for patients during their disease and beyond.

Research is broken down into a number of stages and it can take many years to get from an idea to a result. Research does not always end in a positive outcome or result in a new medicine or insight; many studies fail to show effective results.  

Click here for more questions and answers about pancreatic cancer research. 

The research process

There are many ways of carrying out research depending on the question to be answered, the evidence that already exists and the kind of resources available. How reliable research is depends on the type of study and how well it is carried out. Some research is therefore considered better quality than others.

Types of research and the process of developing new medications or interventions are described below. Research often begins with observational studies or an early discovery and develops to clinical trials. Through each stage of research, results are considered more reliable. 

Observational studies

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Clinical Research

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Points to consider when you hear about research

Research into detecting, treating and curing cancer is reported in the news quite often. Newspapers often report medical news and it can be difficult to know exactly what to believe. You may feel as though you are being told that something is good for you one day and bad for you the next. When looking at a news article or reading about a piece of research, it may help to consider the following points;

If you use this critical thinking to read any news or research that you come across, not just about pancreatic cancer, you may develop a better understanding of the research and what it means.