The patient’s perspective: a qualitative study of individual experience with decision-making, treatment, and recovery for resectable pancreatic cancer

Lauren M. Wancata, Kevin Billingsley, Jasmina Pailet, Skye C. Mayo, Brett C. Sheppard, Lissi Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cancer (PDAC) remains a challenging diagnosis. The likelihood of long-term survival is limited even for patients who undergo maximal medical therapy with systemic chemotherapy and surgical resection. Within this intensive process, there remains limited understanding of patients’ pretreatment expectations of PDAC treatment experience and their decision-making process. Methods: PDAC patients who underwent chemotherapy and surgical resection were retrospectively identified. Semi-structured phone interviews were completed regarding patient experience with therapy. Qualitative descriptive analysis was performed, and categories, subcategories, and themes were determined. Results: Fifteen patients were interviewed regarding their experience with PDAC treatment. An overall personal disease trajectory experience was identified with two phases. The first phase encompassed the patients’ treatment. In this phase, patients expressed a choice, non-choice regarding therapy decisions, viewing therapy as the only option. Misconceptions about the roles of therapies and expected experience of treatment were observed. The second phase focused on life after therapy. Patients reported persistent physical changes secondary to therapy. An overall realistic understanding of the patient’s limited prognosis was observed, with patients expressing appreciation of the life time gained as a benefit of treatment. Conclusions: There remains critical areas for improvement in communication and care of patients with PDAC. Physicians should continue to ensure that patient’s goals and wishes are respected when making treatment decisions and confirm that patients understand the roles and limitations of prescribed therapies. Additionally, patients continue to have significant physical changes post treatment which should be assessed for and managed as appropriate to maintain quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2581-2589
Number of pages9
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Chemotherapy
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Patient expectations
  • Patient experience
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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