Data in the literature regarding the care pathway of pancreatic cancer patients are limited. The objective of the REPERE survey was to identify and describe the initial stages of the care pathway of pancreatic patients in the metastatic phase. From May to October 2015, 62 oncologists (ON) or gastroenterologists specialized in digestive oncology (GESDO) and 300 general practitioners (GP) completed an electronic questionnaire on the pathway of 728 patients recently diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Of these patients, 200 completed a questionnaire given by a specialized physician (ON/GESDO). Weight loss (65%), fatigue (53%) or anorexia (49%) were the main signs/symptoms that motivated the patients to seek medical advice. For 87% of patients, the general practitioner was the first medicine doctor they consulted. According to the respondents (patient, general practitioner or specialist), the median delay between the onset of the first symptoms and the final diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was between 41 and 65 days. This time lapse tended to decrease with associated jaundice (−15 days on average, standard deviation = 8, P < 0.1 NS) or with patient concerns triggered by the first symptoms (−11 days on average, standard deviation = 6, P < 0.05). On the contrary, the time lapse was longer (+14 days on average, standard deviation = 6, P < 0.05) when the general practitioner prescribed symptomatic treatment. In conclusion, diagnostic management of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer should be accelerated with efforts to raise practitioners’ awareness.
Cancer; Pancreas; Care pathway; Diagnosis; Metastasis