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Online tool will improve access to pancreatic cancer trials

Nurse specialist Jeni Jones explains the importance of clinical trials for this patient group

We are well aware of the importance of clinical trials and just how difficult finding accurate, up-to-date information can be for our patients and ourselves.

From our work with other professionals in the field, and our daily contact in supporting patients, we could see this needed to be addressed. This is why Pancreatic Cancer UK has published its first-ever interactive UK-wide clinical trial finder detailing current trials for the disease.

As part of our Key to Survival campaign, it is aimed at making it easier and faster for time-pressured health professionals working with patients who have pancreatic cancer to find clear information about trials taking place throughout the UK. By hosting the information in one place, the charity wants to ensure all health professionals can direct patients to what current trials could offer them.

The UK is a world leader in recruiting patients for clinical trials, yet vastly fewer patients are recruited with pancreatic cancer. This must change if we are to transform the outlook for patients with this disease.

While clinical trials are obviously not right for all, many patients have told us they do not always know much, or even anything, about clinical trials before their diagnosis. So, alongside the trial finder, we have produced a range of videos. These feature patients describing their experiences and research nurses at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge explaining the trial process and answering frequently asked questions.

Susie Zaborszky, a clinical trials research nurse at Addenbrooke’s, appears in the films. She said: ‘These excellent films offer essential information in plain language that helps answer so many common questions and allay common concerns of patients. At the same time, Pancreatic Cancer UK’s trial finder will help professionals keep up to date more easily and to know we are giving patients and families what they need as fast as possible.’

Survival rates for pancreatic cancer have barely improved in 40 years and, with incidence increasing, Pancreatic Cancer UK predicts that the number of patients dying every year will continue to rise from around 9,400 to 11,700 by 2030, unless a major change is made. This bleak outlook makes the need for greater patient participation in clinical trials even more urgent.

About the author

Jeni JonesJeni Jones is pancreatic cancer nurse specialist at Pancreatic Cancer UK

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