There is cause for hope. How the work of the National Pancreatic Cancer Audit will guide improvements in the care and outcomes for patients.

Ganesh Radhakrishna, Co-Clinical Lead (Oncology) for the National Pancreatic Cancer Audit (NPaCA)

Pancreatic Cancer is one of the less survivable cancers and has arguably the worst outcomes of all solid tumour cancers. In the UK, about 10,500 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year. Most patients present with advanced disease and of these, only around 30% of patients receive any form of active anti-cancer therapy.

As a Consultant Clinical Oncologist I see each day how the lives of patients and their families are devastated by this terrible disease. However, there is cause for hope. In the last few years, developments in our understanding and treatments in pancreatic cancer have begun to demonstrate improved outcomes for patients diagnosed with this condition. Ongoing research and increasing innovations in treatments and care, continue to change the paradigm for this disease. I am optimistic that we will continue to improve outcomes for patients; to allow them to have a better quality of life and live longer.

The first National Pancreatic Cancer Audit (NPaCA) to be undertaken in England and Wales provides a unique opportunity to identify regional variations in practice and clinical outcomes for patients who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer The NPaCA will use linked national routinely collected datasets for its core outputs, making the process of producing relevant and robust performance indicators more efficient. It will identify and promote areas of good practice, whilst also highlighting where there are any gaps in services and where improvements are needed in patient care and outcomes.

Key to the success of the NPaCA is close consultation with patients and family members with lived-experience of pancreatic cancer to inform the quality improvement priorities for the audit.  We are setting up a standalone NPaCA Patient and Public forum, working closely with and supported by Pancreatic Cancer Action and Pancreatic Cancer UK (PCUK). These patient charities play an important role in driving improvements in patient care and the team were delighted to attend the recent launch of PCUK’s ‘Optimal Care Pathway for Pancreatic Cancer’, a nationwide initiative which focuses on the need for a faster, fairer and funded pathway through diagnosis, treatment and care.

This month is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month and those that engage with various social media channels, will see a national media campaign to raise awareness of the condition. I am both hopeful and optimistic that in the near future, the NPaCA team, will  share some much needed, evidence-based insight into what changes we can make, to improve the care and outcomes for those diagnosed with this devastating disease.

Last updated: 15 November 2023, 3:15pm