Improving pancreatic cancer outcomes with rapid access to care

Rapid access clinic at BC Cancer could help reduce time between diagnosis and start of treatment

When David Kennedy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his first thought was “let’s get this taken care of as soon as possible.”

For people like David facing pancreatic cancer, time is precious. Although it is the 10th most common cancer in Canada, it is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths after lung, breast in women, colorectal and prostate in men.

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect at an early stage and is often resistant to treatment. It’s projected that for the more than 800 people in British Columbia who will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, only 10 per cent (or 80 people) will live five years.

“While our teams at BC Cancer have made significant progress in breaking down pancreatic cancer in labs and clinics, for some patients this isn’t happening fast enough,” says Dr. Daniel Renouf, BC Cancer medical oncologist and clinician-scientist.

Patients often need to be seen by several specialists and there can be significant delays in arranging these appointments and subsequent tests. During this time, the cancer can progress.

To help reduce the time elapsed between diagnosis and the start of treatment, Dr. Renouf and his team have a vision to create a rapid access clinic at BC Cancer, where:

  • specialist consults are consolidated on a single day;
  • testing is expedited;
  • cutting-edge genetic profiling is performed at the time of diagnosis, leading to tailored therapies for each individual patient; and
  • the clinical research team can discuss potential experimental treatment options.

The rapid access clinic will also significantly minimize stress for patients and families, according to Dr. Renouf.

“By relieving some of their greatest anxieties, we can help patients cope better,” he says. “And by managing their care more efficiently, we can help give them their best chance for survival.”

The significance of creating a rapid access clinic for pancreatic cancer care is not lost on David.

“My prognosis improved because I had swift access to the appropriate treatment,” he says. “I owe my life to all the doctors and staff that cared for me – I am one lucky man.”

Your support can help make the future of pancreatic cancer care a reality and bring new hope to families across B.C. so they can experience an outcome much like David’s. Learn more at www.bccancerfoundation.com.

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