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17.10.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 1/2020

Familial Cancer 1/2020

Long-term positive psychological outcomes in an Australian pancreatic cancer screening program

Familial Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2020
R. S. O’Neill, B. Meiser, S. Emmanuel, D. B. Williams, A. Stoita
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10689-019-00147-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Screening for pancreatic cancer (PC) in high-risk groups aimed to detect early cancers is currently done only in the research setting, and data on psychological outcomes of screening in these populations is scarce. To determine the psychological impact of a national Australian pancreatic screening program, a prospective study was conducted using validated psychological measures: impact of events scale (IES), psychological consequences questionnaire (PCQ) and the cancer worry scale. Measures were administered at baseline, 1-month and at 1-year post-enrolment and correlations with abnormal endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) results were calculated. Over a 6-year period, 102 participants were recruited to the screening program. Thirty-nine patients (38.2%) had an abnormal endoscopic ultrasound, and two patients (2.0%) were diagnosed with PC and two with other malignancies. Those with a personal history of cancer or a positive BRCA2 mutation demonstrated significantly increased worry about developing other types of cancer at baseline (p < 0.01). Irrespective of EUS result, there was a significant decrease of total IES score at 1 year (Z = − 2.0, p = 0.041). In patients with abnormal EUS results, there was a decrease in the total IES score at 1 year (Z = − 2.5, p = 0.011). In participants deemed to be most distressed at baseline based on their negative PCQ score, there was a significant decrease of the total PCQ (Z = − 3.2, p = 0.001), emotional (Z = − 3.0, p = 0.001), social (Z = 3.0, p = 0.001) and physical (Z = − 2.8, p = 0.002) subscale at 1-year post-intervention. This study provides evidence of the long-term psychological benefits of PC screening in high-risk patients. There was no negative impact of screening in the short-term and the positive benefits appeared at 1-year post-intervention irrespective of screening result.

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