An Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative study has identified characteristics of long-term pancreatic cancer survivors. It reveals the challenges of conducting behavioral intervention studies in newly diagnosed patients. The research also shows what factors contribute to the success of these studies. The results of the telephone survey study are presented in this article. Could you read it to learn more? In addition to the results of the telephone survey study, you'll learn about the characteristics of long-term survivors.
Results of a telephone survey study of pancreatic cancer survivors
The results of a telephone survey study of pancreatic cancer survivors provide some critical information on the quality of care and life for people diagnosed with this disease. The study participants were diagnosed with Stage 1 or Stage 2 pancreatic cancer and underwent surgery or radiation—the median time since surgery was 13 months. At least half of the participants had received chemotherapy or radiation treatment. However, the study has limitations.
The study was conducted at eight sites worldwide: three in Tel Aviv, Israel; one in Ohio; and two in Toronto, Canada. The survey results showed that more people now recognize pancreatic cancer compared to the previous year. In addition, more than a quarter of the respondents in the Northeast named the disease. Overall, the results indicate a strong awareness of this disease, with many people calling it a cause of death.
Characteristics of long-term survivors
The survival rate for long-term pancreatic cancer survivors is not the same as that for other types of the disease. For example, patients with non-adenocarcinoma pancreatic cancer have a higher chance of surviving for at least one year. However, survival rates for patients with adenocarcinoma pancreatic cancer are lower, with only a 40 percent chance of survival in one year. The survival rate depends on the cancer stage at diagnosis and the grade of cancer cells.
A recent study comparing long-term and short-term survivors found a significant difference in the number of T cells in the tumors of long-term survivors. Activated T cells are critical for triggering an immune response, and long-term survivors tend to have high levels of these cells. In addition, these survivors had a higher level of neoantigens than patients who died of pancreatic cancer.
Challenges of behavioral intervention studies in newly diagnosed patients
The study involved a telephone survey of pancreatic cancer survivors. Potential study participants were identified through their treating physicians and asked to participate. During the telephone interview, the study staff obtained verbal consent from the survivors. There were 117 potentially eligible survivors in the study; however, 46 could not be reached because they provided invalid phone numbers. Moreover, 15 patients were deceased. Despite these challenges, 51 survivors agreed to participate in the study.
Participants were asked about their interests, preferences, and barriers to participating in the study. About two-thirds of those surveyed expressed interest in diet and exercise intervention programs and were receptive to the technological delivery of these interventions. The main barriers to participation included older age, personal problems, and health-related issues. They also rated their level of comfort with technology-based interventions as high.