With strong patient relationships and family history knowledge, GPs have an essential role in the diagnosis of people with pancreatic cancer.
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer are non-specific and similar to symptoms of other less serious health issues. This often leads to considerable delays in diagnosis for patients with pancreatic cancer. Recent studies have found that it often takes up to six visits to a GP with symptoms, before a patient receives a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
A delay in diagnosis significantly impacts quality of life for patients and their families. If it’s not detected early, pancreatic cancer can advance and be harder to treat. For these reasons, the Australian Optimal Care Pathway for Pancreatic Cancer recommends early referral to a specialist physician, often before a GP has confirmed a diagnosis.
This is why we launched the Jreissati Family Pancreatic Centre at Epworth, a Centre of Excellence in clinical care, patient experience and research, committed to improving early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
We want to partner with you to improve outcomes for your patients.
• Specialist appointment within 72 hours.
• Continuous support from our Pancreatic Nurse Coordinator.
• Choice of Epworth location in East Melbourne, Box Hill, Geelong or Richmond.
Decision support tool for GPs
To help GPs diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier, a group of specialists in Australia have developed a decision support tool to assist investigations of those with increased risk of pancreatic cancer. The decision support tool helps to identify diagnostic pathways based on combinations of symptoms and risk factors.
Download the GP decision support tool for pancreatic cancer (PDF, 124kb)
Screening information for high risk patients
You may consider a referral to the Jreissati Family Pancreatic Centre at Epworth for patients in high risk families who may benefit from screening, and patients with pre-cursor lesions such as cysts.
We are a Victorian site for the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Screening Program. The study is assessing endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) as a screening test for pancreatic cancer for people with an increased risk.
Eligible patients are aged 50 to 80 years old* (or 10 years younger than their youngest relative with pancreatic cancer), with one of the following:
- at least two or more close relatives with pancreatic cancer, or
- gene variants (BRCA2, ATM, PALB2, Lynch syndrome, Familial Atypical Multiple Mole Melanoma) AND a close relative with pancreatic cancer, or
- Peutz-Jeghers syndrome or hereditary pancreatitis and *aged 40+.
3D desktop model of the digestive tract
Many people don’t know what the pancreas is or its location in the body. We have developed a physical desktop model of the digestive tract to aid GPs in discussions with patients.
It also features the GP decision support tool for easy reference.
Patient information booklets
Share comprehensive information with your patients with our free patient guides:
- Epworth Pancreatic Cancer Patient Guide covers symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and pain management.
- Epworth Pancreatic Cancer Patient Nutrition Guide has helpful ways to manage nutrition during pancreatic cancer and treatment.
- Know the symptoms poster
You can print the PDFs or guide your patients to Epworth.org.au/JreissatiCentre
Share your experience
To help us with our research into pancreatic cancer, please take a moment to complete a short survey about your experience of diagnosing and referring patients with pancreatic conditions.
This information will inform a research study to assess the 3D desktop tool as an educational resource and feasibility of implementing the tool into primary care practice.
Patients can also take part in the national PATHWAYS study which seeks to better understand the different journeys people experience to diagnosis. This information will help us develop more ways to help patients and doctors work together to receive a timely diagnosis.
GP pancreatic cancer information session
The GP Liaison team at Epworth hosts regular education events for GPs.
You can watch the Dec 2021 pancreatic cancer information session on demand. Gastroenterologist and Centre Director, Associate Professor Andrew Metz, with General Practitioner Dr Andrew Davaris discuss symptoms, risk factors, investigations, current treatment and how GPs can support patients during and post treatment.