Research

Survey results – Covid-19 and pancreatic cancer treatment

Following the completion of the Cancer52 survey in June, this blog explores the impact that COVID-19 has had on pancreatic cancer patients and their treatments. Describing how PCA, along with other charities, will be using these results to push for pancreatic cancer patients to be prioritised in the restoration of NHS services.

Cancer52 Covid-19 survey results with computer

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In June we asked patients with pancreatic cancer to complete a survey from Cancer52 about their experience with their disease during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We would like to thank all of the pancreatic cancer patients who took part in the survey and we now have information about the effect of Covid-19 on diagnosis and treatment. These results will be used to help us advocate for people with pancreatic cancer to NHS and government and will support our case that pancreatic cancer patients must be prioritised as part of the recovery and restoration of services. Cancer52 will also use the results of the survey for similar campaigning work and together, our voice will be stronger. 

The survey results show that people with pancreatic cancer have been affected by Covid-19 at every stage of their journey. Covid-19 has been a source of concern and anxiety for many people, but not to the same extent as pancreatic cancer and changes to treatments. For patients with pancreatic cancer, any delay in diagnosis or treatment can result in rapid growth or spread of their tumour with knock on effects on the length and quality of life.  

This is likely to explain why even though people with pancreatic cancer are at increased risk of Covid-19 related complications, they are more worried about changes to their treatment. This issue should be addressed when making treatment decisions and patients must be involved at every stage.  

Some patients reported postponed treatment with no new start date or progression of their symptoms whilst waiting. As we continue to move past the peak of the pandemic, diagnostic and treatment services for pancreatic cancer patients must be restored as a priority, patients must be reviewed on a regular basis and have an accessible point of contact to report problems or concerns. Without this, more patients will be diagnosed at a later stage and with less treatment options. Pancreatic cancer already has the worst survival rate of the 22 most common cancers and Covid-19 threatens to cause this to fall even further behind.  

Pancreatic Cancer Action will work with other charities to continue to push for the restoration of cancer services and for personalised care to be given to every patient with pancreatic cancer to protect them from the effects of Covid-19 without compromising their cancer care. We will fight for pancreatic cancer to be prioritised, regardless of how the Covid-19 pandemic develops in the future.