Article Abstract

Survivorship after treatment of pancreatic cancer: insights via an Internet-based survivorship care plan tool

Authors: Melissa A. Frick, Carolyn C. Vachani, Margaret K. Hampshire, Christina Bach, Karen Arnold- Korzeniowski, James M. Metz, Christine E. Hill-Kayser


Pancreatic cancer survivors face a unique set of challenges in survivorship, yet structured survivorship care planning is lacking in practice. Survivorship care plans (SCPs) are an essential part of quality cancer care and can facilitate the transition following active treatment; the use of SCPs in pancreatic cancer survivors, however, has not been explored. With a convenience sample of 117 pancreatic cancer survivors and proxies who used an Internet-based SCP tool, we examined treatment details, patientreported outcomes, and survivorship practices. Thirty-one percent of survivors were 2 years or greater from diagnosis with a median current age of 62 years. Most patients had received multimodality therapy (67%): 68%, 86%, and 43% reported surgical intervention, intravenous chemotherapy, and radiation therapy for their pancreatic cancer, respectively. Survivors commonly reported fatigue, cognitive change, neuropathy, pancreatic insufficiency, and chronic radiation dermatitis related to treatment. Most survivors are managed (47%) or co-managed (35%) by an oncology specialist; however, this percentage decreases over time with consequent increase in management by primary care providers alone. Only 5% had previously been offered an SCP. Of the 24 users who responded to a follow-up satisfaction survey, 83% indicated they would share the SCP with their healthcare team although half of respondents felt it should include more information. In all, our results demonstrate that there is a population of pancreatic cancer survivors who exist and seek survivorship support although structured survivorship care planning is lacking in practice. SCPs have a potentially valuable role for these survivors via communication of treatment-related effects and coordination across multidisciplinary healthcare teams. Further development and evaluation of SCPs is needed for this underserved survivor population.